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Solving Algebra Word Problems

I have a word problem and no matter how hard I try I can't figure out how to do it and I need to figure out how to do these problems for my test. I need a step by step guide if possible please as I'm confused about how the three comes into the equation. The question is:

Jane's father was 27 years old when she was born. Now he is four times as old as she is.

Taking Jane's age to be x, write an equation from this information.

I would appreciate any help you could give me with this please as I really need to understand it.


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Jun 01, 2010
Solving Algebra Word Problems
by: Karin

This is a great word problem. You really have to think through this one.

Think about what you know. You know that Jane's age is x (we don't know it).

You know that Jane's father was 27 when she was born. Therefore, Jane's father is 27 years older than Jane or: x + 27

You now know that Jane's father is 4 times as old as she is now. So, right now Jane's father is 4x.

So, we know two pieces of information about Jane's father. He is 27 years older than Jane (x + 27) and right now his is 4 times as old as she is (4x)

If we set these two equations equal, we will be able to solve for x or Jane's age.

x + 27 = 4x

Now we will solve: Let's move the x to the right hand side.

x - x + 27 = 4x - x
27 = 3x

27/3 = 3x/3

x = 9

Jane is 9 and her father is 36.

Her fathers age can be found by one of two equations:

x + 27
9 + 27 = 36


4(9)= 36

Jane's father is 36 years old.

I hope this helps you,


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