how many combinations of first, second, third, and fourth place can be made?
In everyday language (like with safe combinations or combination locks) there would be 4 possibilities (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 4th place) for the first choice, 3 possibilities for the next choice, and so on.
Answer: 4 * 3 * 2 * 1 = 24 combinations.
There's a math word called "combinations," where order doesn't matter (1234 is the same as 4321). In that sense there's only 1 combination of 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, 4th place because any other order (4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st) is the same thing as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th.
Answer: 1 combination.
There's another math word called "permuations," where order does matter (1234 is different than 4321). This is what people mean most of the time when they talk about stuff outside of math. The combination on a lock is a permutation because if the combination that opens the lock is 1234, then 4321 will not open the lock.
Answer: Same as the version at the top, 4 * 3 * 2 * 1 = 24 combinations. Read More: ...