Select the set of equations that represents the following situation: The sum of two numbers is 38, and their difference is twenty-six more than the smaller number. What are the two numbers?
x + y = 38; y – x = x + 26
2x = 38; 61 = x + 26
2y = 38; 61 = x – 26
x + y = 38; x – y = 26 – x

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Many people see math as a one-way science, so to speak. What I mean is, people look at symbols and numbers and letters and create a road-map in their mind, and solve the equation. This question requires you to do the opposite. Instead of giving you the answer I'd like you to read each possible set of equations and say out loud to yourself what each of them means. Find a pair that matches the set given in the question. Doing this kind of 'backwards' thinking is very reinforcing and will help you when you come across more difficult word problems.

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