A simple math question so confrontational that it even confused calculators
Social media users can’t agree on the answer and it all depends on where you live
A seemingly simple mathematical equation has left the internet completely divided.
Social media users have been split in two by the math problem shared on Twitter.
On the platform, @pjmdoll asked: “oomfies solve this”, next to the problem: 8 ÷ 2 (2 + 2) =?
They added, “I do parentheses, multiplication, then divisions, so I believe it’s 1. So I apparently see the division comes first… that’s why I didn’t do well in math, Okay.”
But no one seems to agree with the answer, with half of the people saying “1” is correct, but the rest saying it is “16”.
A Twitter user said: “[It’s] 1. The number of people who say 16 have to retake math.
“I have 2 math degrees, it’s 1,” said another.
And a second agreed, saying: “8 ÷ 2 (2×2) = 8 ÷ 2 (4) = 8 ÷ 8 = 1 = The answer is 1. Solved via the” BODMAS “rule: (B racket) O (f) D ÷ ivision M x multiplication A + S-additional subtraction. “
The tweet racked up nearly 20,000 retweets – and thousands of likes, too.
Another said: “You don’t need any acronyms to evaluate 8 2 (2 + 2), the result is the same whether you do the + first or the ÷ first.
“Just follow these conventions: 1. Make the parenthesis, 2. Go left to right. The correct result is then 4 X 4 = 16. No memorization of acronyms.”
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And another wrote: “The correct answer is 16. When the problem is at 8/2 (4), you have to calculate from left to right because multiplication and division have the same priority. So 8/2 first then 4 (4) = 16. Just remember the left-to-right rule, a rule that many people forget. “
Feeling confused? We asked the senior education consultant at virtual tutoring company Maths-Whizz why this seemingly simple sum is dividing social media.
Turns out it’s a question of where you came from rather than whether or not you can get there or not, says Fiona Goddard.
While the BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction) method is commonly taught here in UK, America, many use the PEMDAS (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) method.
She said: “It is up to all of us to agree to play by the same rules governing” the order of operations, because in this calculation we are faced with several mathematical operations to perform – evaluate expressions in parentheses, perform multiplying or dividing, or doing additions or subtractions – the order in which we do them can make a huge difference.
“When faced with 8 2 (2 + 2), everyone on Twitter agreed that the 2 + 2 in parentheses should be evaluated first. Of course, 2 + 2 = 4. So the question comes down to 8 ÷ 2 × 4.
“Now comes the split as we are faced with a division and a multiplication, which takes precedence?
“It’s frustrating, the correct answer literally depends on how you were taught and it all comes down to whether you think you should start with ‘2 (4)’ or ‘8 ÷ 2’.
“If you are using the PEMDAS method (a more American method) the order of the equation is Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction. But if you are using the BODMAS method (more often taught in the UK) , then the order is Parentheses, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.
“Therefore, give you different answers. Some calculators say 16, but some say 1 – even machines don’t have a definitive answer!”
So now you kind of know.