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September 20th, 2012, 05:01 PM   #1
 
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Confusing Word Problem

I donít know if my mind is blanking out, or Iím just plain stupid. Here is the word problem that I canít seem to understand:

While organizing his bookshelf, Michael noticed that he had eight more science-fiction novels than spy novels. If he owns 26 science-fiction novels and spy novels, how many of each type of novel does he own? Explain how you found your solution.

Thanks if you help!
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September 20th, 2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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Re: Confusing Word Problem

Let x be the number of sci-fi novels and y be the number of spy novels.

From the statement "he had eight more science-fiction novels than spy novels" we may write:



From the statement "he owns 26 science-fiction novels and spy novels" we may write:



If we substitute for x from the first equation into the second, we have:







Now, using the first equation, and substituting the value we found for y into it, we find:



Thus, we find that Michael has 17 sci-fi novels and 9 spy novels.
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