Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Denise, a student:

Please help me, I'm desperate, I've been working on this problem for 2 days and I can't figure it out. Please show your work."A rectangle has a diagonal that is 3.6 feet longer than the length and 7.1 feet longer than the width. What are the dimensions of the rectangle?

We have two responses for you


Let d be the length of the diagonal. Then the length is d-3.6 and the width is d-7.1. Pythagoras' Theorem gives you a relationship between the length, width and diagonal since these are the sides of a right triangle.

Does this help?



Let D be measure (in feet) of the diagonal, L the length and W the width. By the Pythagorean formula, D2 = L2 + W2. But the text also says that D = L + 3.6, and D = W + 7.1. This should be enough to help you find L, W and D.


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