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Basic Math/Math - Word Problem


Hi, I am having trouble with the wording of the following question:

- Leslie bought the following items: a pair of pants for $27.95, batteries for $5.65, a cotton sweater for $37.50, a pair of socks for $7.95, and a box of cassette tapes for $47.95 . If the sales tax is 7%, how much tax did Leslie have to pay?

- The only part that I am having trouble with is, as I mentioned before, the wording of the question. (Should I calculate the sales tax (7%) off of "each" item and then add them all together, or should I add all of the items together and then calculate 7% off of the "total" amount of the items?)

- Thanks.

You will find that you end up with the same number either way.  Think Distributive law...  a(b+c+d) = ab+ac+ad.  Although, if you add first, then you only need to multiply once instead of multiplying 5 times and then still needing to add it all together.  

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Lynn Houston


I can answer questions in basic algebra and any grade school math.


Love math, currently helping my nephew get through Intermediate Algebra.

I majored in Math Ed in college (but decided not to teach), so have over 40 credits of math.

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