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Chapter 23
WORD PROBLEMS
Word (or story) problems encourage a systematic approach to the identica-
tion of unknown values. Though there are many categories of word prob-
lems, the most proliﬁc are included in this chapter. The methods for each
differ slightly, but all word problems are approached in the same manner:
identify and deﬁne the unknown quantities, discern a relationship between
the unknown and the known quantities in the problem, deﬁne the relation-
ship using one or more equations, and solve the equations.
A lot of people hate word problems, because compared to other algebra
problems, they are chock-full of words. Why is that a big deal? Just when
you get used to equations, theyre gone. Actually, word problems still boil
down to solving equations, with one big difference: You have to come up with
the equations on your own—they’re not given to you. However, after you
gure out how to set up those equations, the answers arent far behind.
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