Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from May, a student:

The sum of two numbers is 36.
Their product is 320.
What are the two numbers?

Hi May,

You don't know either number so give them names. Call the first number x and the second number y. Since the sum of the two numbers is 36 you know that

x + y = 36.

From this I can see that I don't need names for each number since if one number is x the other is 36 - x.

Now you know that the product of the two numbers is 320 so

x × (36 - x) = 320

Can you solve this for x?


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