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September 20th, 2012, 06:01 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Sep 2012 Posts: 1 Thanks: 0  Confusing Word Problem
I don’t know if my mind is blanking out, or I’m just plain stupid. Here is the word problem that I can’t seem to understand: While organizing his bookshelf, Michael noticed that he had eight more sciencefiction novels than spy novels. If he owns 26 sciencefiction novels and spy novels, how many of each type of novel does he own? Explain how you found your solution. Thanks if you help! 
September 20th, 2012, 07:01 PM  #2 
Senior Member Joined: Jul 2010 From: St. Augustine, FL., U.S.A.'s oldest city Posts: 12,208 Thanks: 516 Math Focus: Calculus/ODEs  Re: Confusing Word Problem
Let x be the number of scifi novels and y be the number of spy novels. From the statement "he had eight more sciencefiction novels than spy novels" we may write: From the statement "he owns 26 sciencefiction 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 scifi novels and 9 spy novels. 

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