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Simple Maths Question Divides Internet

A simple maths question has divided the internet even though it looks pretty straightforward. 

The problem was shared on Twitter and nearly 15,000 people have given it a go. However, many were left dumbfounded and got the answer completely wrong. 

The question was 8 ÷ 2(2 + 2) = ?

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Simple Maths Question
Credit: @pjmdoll/Twitter

Most people who attempted it appeared to have one of two answers: 1 or 16. 

The person who originally posted it insisted it was 1, writing: “I do parenthesis, multiplication, then division so I believe it’s 1.”

They then added: “I see so apparently division comes first… this is why I didn’t do well in math okay.”

Agreeing, a person said: “[It’s] 1. The amount of people saying 16 need to retake math,” another agreed: “I have 2 math degrees, it’s 1.”

“8÷2(2×2) = 8÷2(4) = 8÷8 = 1 = Answer is 1. Solved Via “BODMAS” Rule : (B racket) O( f ) D÷ ivision M x ultiplication A+ dditional S-ubtraction,” a second answered. 

Disagreeing, another Twitter user commented: “You do not 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. Do the parenthesis, 2. Do from Left to Right. The correct result is then 4 X 4 = 16. No memorization of acronyms.”

Answering 16, another explained: “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 precedence. So 8/2 first and then 4(4)=16. Just remember the left to right rule, which is a rule a lot of people forget.” 

Credit: Pexel

YouTuber and author Presh Talwalker has also insisted that the correct answer is 16. 

On his MindYourDecisions blog, he explained: “According to the order of operations, division and multiplication have the same precedence, so the correct order is to evaluate from left to right. First take 8 and divide it by 2, and then multiply by 2.

“This is without argument the correct answer of how to evaluate this expression according to current usage.

“Some people have a different interpretation. And while it’s not the correct answer today, it would have been regarded as the correct answer 100 years ago.”

He then said that ‘historically the symbol ÷ was used to mean you should divide by the entire product on the right of the symbol,’ but that this is an ‘outdated symbol’.

Featured Image Credit: Pexel

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