# Problem in understanding math problem in japanese

I got question like this maybe some math question in japanese

179からある数これを引いたら、残りは12になりました。ある数はいくつですか。

Suppose x is the number that the question ask
First i thought like x - 179=12
Somewhat confuse with'これを引いたら’
Is this mean there is a number and it is substracted by 179 or the number itself 179??
Particle を makes 179 like an object..
Its ambiguous for me But the correct one is 179-x=12?

• I think this Japanese sentence is very clumsy and almost ungrammatical. If this was really written by a native Japanese speaker, please double-check you have copied it correctly. Commented May 15, 2017 at 9:21
• I recite it from my memory and modified the question and change the number too >< though the part that made me confuse is 179 からある数これを引いたら、残りは12 . Then find the number .. ambiguous Commented May 15, 2017 at 9:26
• And that is the ungrammatical sentence that does not look like a valid math problem... Anyway 179から obviously means "from 179", so it probably means "179 - x = 12". Commented May 15, 2017 at 9:35
• Maybe 179から /// ある数これを引いたら、残りは12 .. hm thats makes sense now! So the object is ある数(？) At first i thought it is related to grammar 'からある' that express big quantity or how big 179 is but there seems no relation with this grammar(?) Commented May 15, 2017 at 9:43

179 からある数これを引いたら、残りは12。数字はいくらですか

As narto said in his comment the above sentence or the math problem is very clumsy and almost ungrammatical.

I would edit the math problem like:

179からある数を引いたら、残りは12になりました。ある数はいくつですか。

179 - X = 12

This teacher has to learn Japanese before they try to start teaching math!

• Thanks actually its not what is written there. Since the teacher collected the paper, i just wrote what i remember... Commented May 15, 2017 at 9:51

Let me see. "179 からある数これを引いたら、残りは12。数字はいくらですか". Let7s translate, saving word order.

"179 from some number this subtract, rest is 12. number what is." - Dirty translation. "this" is grammatical error, delete it.

Let's fix word order, add IF we. "If we subtract some number from 179, rest is 12. What number?"

Now to math part :). 179 - somenumber = 12 => somenumber = 179 - 12 = 167.

Hmm . . . let's see. It may well be that これ is a typo or an imperfect recollection, but if I had to mount a defence of it, my argument would go like this: in circumstances where it is essential that a text such as a law, for example, should be absolutely unambiguous, it is common to recapitulate subject or object with これ so as to be quite clear, even though the same passage without これ would be regarded as acceptable in ordinary expository prose. There are numerous examples, for instance, in the Japanese Constitution. Here are a couple of reasonably straightforward ones:

In order to achieve the object of the preceding section, an army, navy and air force and other war potential - we will not maintain these.

The right of the state to engage in warfare - we will not recognise this

(Official,translation: In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognised.)

The same convention is used in language textbooks to make clear the structures of sentences in other languages.

If it is used in maths problems as well, which would seem likely, I would interpret 179からある数これを引いたら、残りは12になりました。ある数はいくつですか。 as: A certain number, if you deduct this from 179, gives a remainder of 12. How much is this certain number?

• thanks!! yeah i thought これを maybe refer to あるかず？あるかず maybe like an object? i was confused at first since japanese dont use space, i thought that からあるかず is unity that modify 179 , refer to grammar~からある/からなる Commented May 16, 2017 at 7:14