Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from shannon, a parent:

If there are 4 people in a car and all of them can drive how many possible ways can they sit in the car?

If there are 4 people in a car and only 1 can drive how many possible ways the the people sit in the car?

Hi Shannon,

In the first question there are 4 ways to choose the driver and then you get to choose where the other 3 sit. Thus the answer to the first question must be 4 times the answer to the second questions.

In the second question there are 3 ways to choose who sits beside the driver. Once this decision is made there are 2 ways to place the remaining people in the back seat. Thus there are 3 times 2 = 6 ways to to arrange the three passengers.


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