Algebra 1: Common Core (15th Edition)

Published by Prentice Hall
ISBN 10: 0133281140
ISBN 13: 978-0-13328-114-9

Chapter 1 - Foundations for Algebra - 1-1 Variables and Expressions - Practice and Problem-Solving Exercises: 39

Answer

$(\frac{5-2}{n})$ or $(\frac{5}{n}-2)$

Work Step by Step

The first friend decided to compute the first half of the statement first. 2 less than 5 is equivalent to 5-2, then all of that divided by n will yield (5-2)/n. This is correct based on the written description. The second friend decided to compute the second half of the statement first. 5 divided by n is equivalent to 5/n, then take 2 less than that. This yields (5/n)-2. This is also correct based on the written description. Yes, these are both reasonable interpretations. The written problem does not specify which computation should be done first, so it can be interpreted in two different ways. Verbal descriptions can lack precision for this exact reason - if the order of operations (for example, do the addition first, or do the subtraction before dividing) is not explicitly stated, it can cause different interpretations of the same problem.
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