# Age Word Problem with 4 Variables

Simon is nine years older than Jairus. Simon is four times as old as Joter was three years ago. Joter is eighteen years younger than Marshall. How old is Jairus?

The choices are as follow:

10 / 12 / 19 / 28 / None of the above

I can solve age problems up to three variables, but this problem involves 4 variables which makes it pretty difficult for me to understand. Plus, I think some information is lacking like the description of Marshall's age. Please help me construe this problem.

PS I am college student struggling with word problems in general.

• Use $S$, $R$, $T$, and $M$ to represent the ages (in years) of Simon, Jairus, Joter, and Marshall, respectively. Now state the given statements as equations. For example, the first statement can be expressed as $S=R+9$. Can you do the rest? Show us some work. – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 2 '15 at 6:32
• How does Jairus help at all? Are you leaving something out by accident? – Daniel W. Farlow Feb 2 '15 at 6:39
• There is no other mention with regard the age of Marshall except that Joter is 18 yrs younger than Marshall. I also think that there should be some information relating Marshall's age to Simon's in order to get Jairus' age. – T.Martinez Feb 2 '15 at 6:45
• This is question 19 on page 3 from xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/20492540/2131526712/name/… – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 2 '15 at 6:45
• Yes, it's a question from that reviewer. – T.Martinez Feb 2 '15 at 6:47

## 1 Answer

Let $S$, $R$, $T$, and $M$ represent the ages (in years) of Simon, Jairus, Joter, and Marshall, respectively.

The first statement can be expressed as $S=R+9$.

The second statement is $S=4(T-3)$.

The third statement is $T=M-18$.

You are given three linear equations in four unknowns. Without any other assumptions, it seems that there are an infinite number of possible solutions. I assume there is an error in the statement of the problem.

• I'm guessing the "correct" answer is 19, because it is the only specified choice that results in a multiple of 4 when 9 is added to it. – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 2 '15 at 6:55
• It's 'none of the above' in the answer key. There's no solution given so I cannot understand myself how it even arrived to that answer. – T.Martinez Feb 2 '15 at 7:00
• I suggest that you ignore the question. It's obviously missing important information and thus cannot be solved. – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 2 '15 at 7:02
• That is unless the question poser wanted to see if you knew that there would be no unique solution, and intended you to answer "none of the above" to mean "no unique solution." If so, then the question poser is not a very good one. – Joel Reyes Noche Feb 2 '15 at 7:04