Top Stupid Questions People Ask About Twins and Multiples

If you're a twin or a parent of twins, you're going to be subjected to stupid questions. Twins and other multiples are naturally the subjects of public curiosity. Families with multiples quickly become accustomed to being targeted with questions, and constantly having to answer the inquiries of strangers on the street.


Are They Twins?

dad with twins
Jeremy Woodhouse/Holly Wilmeth / Blend Images / Getty Images

We've all heard it. It's the most common way for strangers to start up a conversation about your kids. Although it's harmless, this ubiquitous question can be annoying. Perhaps because the answer seems self-evident, or maybe because you know that answering it will induce the interrogator to ask another stupid question (like the ones below).


Are They Identical or Fraternal?

For some reason, people want to classify twins into two categories: identical and non-identical. Most people know that there are two types of twins, but they really have no idea what that actually means.


Which One Is Older?

Why do people feel compelled to know this? Birth order typecasting is not relevant to multiples. You're talking about a matter of minutes between births, not enough time for anything meaningful to impact their personalities.


Which One Is the Good One?

No one would ever ask a mother of singletons to label her children in this way. No child is all good or all bad. Certainly, there will be times when one kid acts like an "angel" in response to her twin's misbehavior, but ... wait five minutes and they'll switch roles.


Do Twins Run in Your Family?

This is another seemingly innocuous question that parents of twins hate to answer. It's just too difficult to explain what causes multiple birth and why it may or may not be hereditary. Usually, when strangers pose this question, they care less about the actual answer than about sharing their own family history of twins.


How Come Their Names Don't Match?

If you purposely select names that don't sound too "twinny," you might get this question. The general public always seems disappointed that their names don't rhyme, start with the same letter, or otherwise "go together."


How Do You Tell Them Apart?

If your twins are identical (and even if they're not) this is a very common question generated sometimes by politeness, and other times out of curiosity. Some people genuinely want a physical signal to help them identify and distinguish between children with similar appearances. But many others simply want to pick apart the physical characteristics of supposedly duplicate people.


Did You Have Them Naturally?

This is an extremely personal question and one which strangers have no business asking. There are two interpretations of this inquiry, referring to either how the multiples were conceived (i.e. with fertility enhancements) or how they were delivered (vaginally vs. C-section). In either case, it's nobody's business, and it's simply not polite to ask unless you are already on familiar terms.


Do They Have Their Own Language?

Like any individuals that share an extremely close relationship, twins can sometimes develop a pattern of communication unique to them. The reason that this ranks as a stupid question is that people often ask it of parents of infants -- who haven't yet developed any language, much less one of their own.


Do You Ever Dress Them Alike?

Dressing alike is a sensitive issue for multiples. Some like it, some don't. Some parents elect to do it, some don't. But for some reason, some non-twin people seem to think that twins aren't twins if they're not dressed in cloned clothing. Just like the saying goes, "Clothes don't make the man." Well, they don't make the twins, either.

3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. The Difference Between Identical and Fraternal Twins.

  2. MedlinePlus. Is the probability of having twins determined by genetics?

  3. Reynolds CR, Vannest KJ, Fletcher-Janzen E. Encyclopedia of Special Education, Volume 1: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals, 4th edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons; 2014.

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.