Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Suppose you have 6 striped socks and 4 red socks in a drawer. How many socks must you take from the drawer to be certain of having a pair of red socks?

Hi Gary,

You may get 2 red socks sooner than this number, but to be absolutely certain that you will pick out a pair of red socks, think about it this way. What if you pick all of the striped socks first. Then how many more will you have to pick until you have a red pair? Add these two numbers together and then you will be certain to have a pair of red socks.


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