The Lees have 3 children. The oldest is twice as old as the youngest. The middle is 5 years older than the youngest. If the sum of the age is 57, how old is each child?
Oldest = 2 times Youngest -> O = 2*Y Middle = Youngest + 5 -> M = Y+5 All of them together is 57 -> O + M + Y = 57 So you have these three equations: (1) O = 2*Y (2) M = Y+5 (3) O + M + Y = 57 Now you want to reduce the number of variables. You can change the second equation to be Y = M-5 and then plug in "M-5" wherever there is currently a Y: (4) O = 2*(M-5) = 2*M - 10 (5) O + M + (M-5) = 57 which becomes O + 2M = 62 Then you plug in the "O" equation (4) into (5) which gives you (2M-10) + 2M = 62 which reduces to 4M = 72. So now I know M is 18. I can now plug that into my other equations: (4) O = 2*18 - 10 which means O = 26. Now I plug that into (1) from the top: 26 = 2*Y which becomes 13 = Y So now I have O, Y, and M Oldest is 26 Middle is 18 Youngest is 13 Reading the sentence again, you can see that this makes sense.