Arggghhh! What is the answer to this IQ test question?

I was taking an online IQ test today, as I am sometimes wont to do in order to gratify my own ego and I was humbled by the following question.


Find a word which when added to first 3 will make 3 new words.

This is driving me nuts. I’m sure it’s something obvious but I just can’t figure it out. There is no specification as to whether the new word must be “added” only at the end of the initial words so maybe it goes in the front or in the middle but I’m stymied all the same. Can someone please help me with this so I can sleep tonight?

Thank you.


It’s “star”.

The first thing that comes to my mind is STAR. I think it works.

I swear those posts weren’t there!


Thank you. That’s almost embarrasingly obvious. Thank you, though
(Man, this board is QUICK with the answers).

Hm, what about the commonest word in spoken English, “er”, giving “fisher”, “boarder” and “gazer” (the usual rule being that when you add “er” to a word ending in “e”, you drop the “e”). I believe that you can use “er” in Scrabble.

Oooh, I’ve got one that drives me nuts, too:

John likes 400, but not 300; he likes 100 but not 99; he likes 3600 but not 3700. Which does he like?

a. 900
b. 1000
c. 1100
d. 1200

Which is the right answer and why?

And as for your question, **Dio ** - I think it’s “Star”.

Giles: And that’s one of the reasons I don’t like IQ tests, especially ones administered on the Internet where only one answer is allowed. I often think of an answer that’s not the ‘official’ one, and often don’t get credit even though my answer is right. ‘Er’ isn’t exactly a word, though (but, er, it’s in Merriam-Webster with the, um, definition you gave) – you might get caught up on the ‘most correct answer’ thing.


John likes a. 900. He likes square numbers – 400 is 20², 100 is 10², and 3600 is 60², but the other numbers are not square. 900 is 30². It’s also possible that John likes squares of numbers divisible by 10, but there’s no information like ‘John likes 1,600 but not 625’ that might indicate that.

Sure it is. It’s an interjection, but interjections are just as much words as noun, verbs, etc.

What is “exactly” a word?

Thank you, **Roches ** - but oh man, do I feel stupid.

If you add er to gaze, you have gazeer. That’s not a word.

Ha! Excellent point.

Now that we know at least one of the answers, which site did you go to for the IQ test?

It was the “Verbal IQ” test at

I covered that – the normal rule in English when you add “er” to a word ending in “e” is to drop the “e”. Just as some Germans do when that add “Schiff” to “Fahrt” and get “Schiffahrt”, dropping one of the f’s.

What probably worries people about by solution is that the “er” that I was adding is not the same as the “er” which is an interjection with no meaning and wich is just used as a space-filler in conversation when you can’t think of the next word. However, I have the same problem with “star” in “starboard”: it’s cognate with the verb “steer”, and has nothing to do with astronomical objects or five-pointed objects.

Yeah, but technically that’s not adding a word to a word the way the OP has it phrased. Why can’t the Germans spell “fart” correctly?

You’re addding rules to the game which are not given. There is nothing in the rules allowing the dropping of letters. IQ questions like this are usually preddy strict and pedantic, and IMHO, “er” is not an acceptable answer, as it produces the word “gazeer.”

He likes 900. All the numbers he likes have even square roots. 400 is 20 x 20, 100 is 10 x 10, 3600 is 60 x 60, 900 is 30 x 30.

No, no - John likes all the numbers that he can get for dailly pay without getting pushed into a higher tax bracket. It’s really simple, so long as you understand the IRS tax structure. (John likes 900, so the other answers are also correct, just for the wrong reasons.) :smiley: