Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from iyana, a student:

what is an extraneous solution? what must you do to determine whether a extraneous solution?

Hi Iyana.

Extraneous means that it is an extra solution that doesn't matter. That's pretty vague, I know, because what is "Extraneous" and what is "relevant" depends on the context of the situation.

For example, how far is it from Paris (France) to London (England)? If you carefully measured on a big map (we are ignoring roads - this is "as the crow flies") then you get about 343 km. But if you went around the world the other way (almost circumnavigating the world) it would be closer to 39 665 km! That's perhaps an entertaining solution, but is extraneous -- it doesn't matter unless we specifically want to do that.

Hope this helps,
Stephen La Rocque.


When you search for the term extraneous look at some of the responses we have to previous questions.



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