By turning a word question into algebra, we can solve it:

**Example 1:**

Q. There are twice as many sheep as cows in a field. How do we write this as an equation?

Let number of cows be **C** and the number of sheep be **S**.

There are twice as many sheep as cows, so **S** must be twice **C**.

We write this as **S = 2C**

**Example 2:**

Q. Jess is 4 years older than Matt. Their total age is 100. How old are they?

Let Jess be x years old, using a letter, because her age is unknown.

Jess is 4 years older than Matt. So Matt’s age is **x – 4** years old.

Total age is **x(Jess) + x – 4(Matt) = 100.**

or **2x – 4 = 100**; so **2x = 104**; so **x = 52**.

So Jess is **52** and Matt is **48**.

**Your Turn: **

Q. Cyril, Jen and Brian combined age is **100**.

Cyril is twice as old as Jen and she is **4** years older than Brian.

**How old are they?**