# When solving age problems, you need to represent the

following in terms of a variable:
- the present ages of the people or things involved
- the age, at the other specified time, of the people or
things involved
Then, form an equation based on these
representations.
Here are some examples:
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Cary is 9 years older than Dan. In 7 years, the sum of
their ages will equal 93.
Find both of their ages now.
x = Dan's age now
x + 9 = Cary's age now {Cary is 9 yrs older than Dan}
x + 7 = Dan's age in 7 years
x + 16 = Cary's age in 7 years
x + 7 + x + 16 = 93 {in seven years the sum of their ages
will be 93}
2x + 23 = 93 {combined like terms}
2x = 70 {subtracted 23 from both sides}
x = 35 {divided both sides by 35}
x + 9 = 44 {substituted 35, in for x, into x + 9}
Dan is 35
Cary is 44
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Fred is 4 times as old as his niece, Selma. Ten years from
now,
he will be twice as old as she will be. How old is each
now?
x = Selma's age now
4x = Fred's age now {Fred is 4 times as old as Selma}
x + 10 = Selma's age in 10 years
4x + 10 = Fred's age in 10 years
4x + 10 = 2(x + 10) {his age in 10 yrs is twice her age in
10 years}
4x + 10 = 2x + 20 {used distributive property}
2x + 10 = 20 {subtracted 2x from both sides}
2x = 10 {subtracted 10 from both sides}
x = 5 {divided both sides by 2}
4x = 20 {substituted 5, in for x, into 4x}
Selma is 5 now
Fred is 20 now
------------------------------------------------------------------------------An eagle is 4 times as old as a falcon. Three years ago,

the eagle was 7 times as old as the falcon. Find the
present
age of each bird.
x = falcon's age now
4x = eagle's age now {the eagle is 4 times as old as
falcon}
x - 3 = falcon's age 3 years ago
4x - 3 = eagle's age 3 years ago
4x – 3 = 7(x – 3) {three years ago, eagle was 7 times the
falcon}
4x – 3 = 7x – 21 {used distributive property}
4x = 7x -18 {added 3 to both sides}
-3x = -18 {subtracted 7x from both sides}
x = 6 {divided both sides by -3}
4x = 24 {substituted 6, in for x, into 4x}
falcon is 6 now
eagle is 24 now
------------------------------------------------------------------------------Brenda is 4 years older than Walter, and Carol is twice
as old
as Brenda. Three years ago, the sum of their ages was
35.
How old is each now?
x = Walter's age now
x + 4 = Brenda's age now {Brenda is 4 yrs older than
Walter}
2(x + 4) = 2x + 8 = Carol's age now {Carol is twice as old
as Brenda, used distributive property}
x - 3 = Walter's age 3 years ago {subtracted 3 from x}
x + 1 = Brenda's age 3 years ago {subtracted 3 from x +
4}
2x + 5 = Carol's age 3 years ago {subtracted 3 from 2x +
8}
(x - 3) + (x + 1) + (2x + 5) = 35 {sum of ages, 3 years ago,
was 35}
x - 3 + x + 1 + 2x + 5 = 35 {took out parentheses}
4x + 3 = 35 {combined like terms}
4x = 32 {subtracted 3 from both sides}
x = 8 = Walter now {divided both sides by 4}
x + 4 = 12 = Brenda now {substituted 8, in for x, into x +
4}
2(x + 4) = 24 = Carol now {substituted 8, in for x, into 2(x
+ 4)}
Walter is 8 now
Brenda is 12 now
Carol is 24 now
We can solve this problem using either one or two
variables: