My first puzzle. Please tell me if it's too vague.

Hamlet: (holding a sword) To be or not to be.

Horatio: Dear Hamlet, live! Only our present states diverge--our futures remain forever bound together.

Hamlet: Nay Horatio, OUR pasts differ as well.

Horatio: I see that THEY are indeed also different.

What word is Horatio thinking about?


I introduced one very important verb.

Hint 2: I added this hint into the text.

Hint 3:

Try reading the last 2 lines in different ways. In addition to the obvious meaning, there's a little bit of extra hidden meaning.

Hint 4:

Pay attention to the bolded and bold/italicized text. Horatio and Hamlet are talking about forms of the same word.

  • $\begingroup$ too vague for me, but i'm a noob.... looks interesting... maybe in a day or two you will need to put some hints up... $\endgroup$
    – tom
    Aug 14, 2018 at 15:42
  • $\begingroup$ Congratulations on your very first puzzle, and it looks good, too! I can't upvote as I have reached my daily voting limit (and have to wait $11$ hours), so I favourited $\color{darkorange}{\bigstar}$ :D $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Aug 23, 2018 at 12:34
  • $\begingroup$ There, I gave it an upvote. That's a really good riddle $\endgroup$
    – R.D
    Aug 23, 2018 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ Spit balling a bit here but does the answer have anything to do with rot13:gvzr? $\endgroup$
    – gabbo1092
    Oct 11, 2018 at 19:57

4 Answers 4


Could Horatio's word be

Bind? (And Hamlet's word is bound?)

This is because

In the future, you will be bound; also you will bound the sheep's pasture. (The future tense of bind and bound is the same). In the present tense it differs (bind vs. bound). Similarly, the past tense of bind is bound...so Horatio might think that the past tenses are the same again...but the past tense of bound is bounded, so Hamlet is correct that they are not the same.

New idea (inspiration taken from @EightAndAHalfTails in the comments):

Maybe capitalization is important. They say that Our futures are bound together; but our presents are not. Further, our pasts diverge as well. The second hint makes me think that Our pasts might not diverge. I'm not sure though whether the capital letters signify capitalization of the verb or whether they have slightly different meanings. I'm still not sure what the verb could be...

  • $\begingroup$ You are definitely on the right track, but Hamlet and Horatio are both discussing one verb. $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 14, 2018 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I see now: Rot13(Gb O be abg gb O). @1848, was this pun intended? :P $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Aug 23, 2018 at 12:35
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @1848, in your Hint 2, didn't Hamlet say that already per the riddle? I don't see what changed... $\endgroup$
    – El-Guest
    Aug 23, 2018 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @El-Guest capital 'O' in "Our," I think. $\endgroup$ Aug 23, 2018 at 13:44
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm I intended capitalizing 'our' and 'they' in the last 2 lines to emphasize those 2 words. You can think of them as being bolded or italicized...ect $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 23, 2018 at 14:21

Are Horatio and Hamlet both talking about



Horatio: Dear Hamlet, live! Only our present states diverge--our futures remain forever bound together.

"I will be" and "You will be" use the same conjugation. However, the present tenses diverge because "I am" and "You are".

Hamlet: Nay Horatio, OUR pasts differ as well.

This is because "I was" and "You were". "We were" is also different from "I was".

Horatio: I see that THEY are indeed also different.

And another one that's different from "I was": "They were".

  • $\begingroup$ You're 75% there. Horatio is talking about another meaning involving the bold/italicized words and your verb. If you take that route, Horatio is talking about one tense of your verb. But your present/future reasoning is what I had in mind. $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 23, 2018 at 17:19
  • $\begingroup$ How does this look @1848? There's a bit of jumping there but am I even closer now? $\endgroup$
    – El-Guest
    Aug 23, 2018 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ hmm I would say you are getting a little farther. $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 23, 2018 at 17:30

Edit for second try:

Maybe Hamlet's word is


while Horatio's word is


"Our futures remain forever bound together" possibly refers to

the future tense of "be" is accompanied by "will," as in "will be."

"Our present states diverge" and "our pasts differ"

are reflected by the present tense of Hamlet's word ("am"/"are") and the past tense ("was"/"were") not needing to be preceded by "will"--"will am/are" and "will was/were" aren't grammatically correct!

Original answer:

Going off El-Guest's idea:

Perhaps it's the word

"be", but either the singular or plural?

"Our present states diverge" may refer to

"am" (singular) vs. "are" (plural)

While "Our futures remain forever bound together" refers to

"will be" being the same future tense for both singular and plural.

However, their pasts differ:

"was" (singular) vs. "were" (plural)

  • $\begingroup$ Your reasoning is pretty much there, but Horatio's word is incorrect. $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 14, 2018 at 21:31
  • $\begingroup$ Edited with another attempt! $\endgroup$ Aug 14, 2018 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ Not quite, and I've added some more hints. I thought I was being clever when I came up with this puzzle, but I'll definitely try to make any futures puzzles less vague. $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 14, 2018 at 22:42

I think the words are

passed and past
passed is the past tense of pass
past is past tense of passen (archaic) which is probably related to the adjective 'past'

  • $\begingroup$ Not quite. Hint 4 means 'forms of the same word' literally (as in conjugations). Also the conjugations for 'to pass' don't quite match the rules I've set, but I can't say how or the answer becomes kind of obvious! $\endgroup$
    – 1848
    Aug 23, 2018 at 16:47

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