   SEARCH HOME Math Central Quandaries & Queries  Question from Carolyn: the equation 2y + 53 = 165 represents the situation joel spent 165 dollars on a pair of jeans and two shirts at the same price what does y represent price of a pair of jeans price of a shirt amount joel spent on the shirts number of shirts joel bought Hi again Carolyn,

This problem is an illustration of the importance of a comma. The statement "a pair of jeans and two shirts at the same price" says that the pair of jeans and the two shirts each cost the same amount. In this case if $y$ is the price of each of the articles of clothing then $3y = 165.$ But this is not the equation you were given.

If the statement in the problem said "a pair of jeans, and two shirts at the same price" and you let $y$ be the cost of a shirt then two shirts would cost $2y$ dollars. If the jeans cost 53 dollars then $2y + 53 = 165.$

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