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Basics of Word Problems

Now solve the equation which was created in the last step.
Let x = Total Pieces of Fruit

 Initial Equation 15 + 12 = x After combining like terms 27 = x

The answer is then rewritten as a sentence.

There are 27 Total Pieces of Fruit.

By using simple arithmetic, this problem probably could have been solved faster without setting up an algebra equation. But, knowing how to use an equation for this problem builds awareness of concepts which are useful, and sometimes critical to solving much harder problems. One such problem will be presented in the next example.

Examine this word problem.

Two consecutive numbers have a sum of 91. What are the numbers?

Take notice, this problem has two numbers which are unknown, unlike the previous one which only had one unknown value. In order for this problem to be solved using basic algebra methods, we must set up an equation that has only one variable (such as x). Proceed to the next page to find out how this is done.

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