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What is a flower bed walk?

I don't know what the walk is so I can't solve this problem

A rectangular flower bed, dimensions 16 yards by 12 yards, is surrounded by a walk 3 yards wide. What is the area of the walk in square yards?

The 3 yard object is too small to surround the flower bed. How would it surround the flower bed?

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2 Answers 2

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It means a walkway. The walk is 3 yards wide, meaning it extend 3 yards away from the surrounded area. The problem doesn't say anything useful about length, although it may be useful to calculate the length in order to find the area.

My advice in general would be to draw a picture, and keep playing with the problem until you find something that makes sense, rather than stopping when you see a word you don't know. You may find it clearer when you skim the problem and think about the big picture rather than trying to fit every little detail into your understanding at the first go. Your teacher or boss or whatever may sympathize with you if you have unclear directions, but they'll be unimpressed if you didn't try everything you could to resolve the ambiguity yourself.

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  • $\begingroup$ I don't yet have the imagination to imagine that the walk would extend 3 yards away from the surrounding area. How would I develop this flexibility of mind? $\endgroup$
    – user159778
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 21:58
  • $\begingroup$ You were correct that 3 yards is too short to extend the length of the area, so it must mean 3 yards in another direction. A person wouldn't be walking 3 yards; they have a path 3 yards wide on which to walk. It helps to draw a picture like Ross Millikan did. $\endgroup$
    – NoName
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 0:33
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You have the rectangular flower bed $16 \times 12$. The walk is a border $3$ wide around the outside of the flower bed.

enter image description here

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