Last Thursday, Twitter user @pjmolI posted what appeared to be a simple and straightforward equation with the caption "oomfies solve this." The equation was: 8 ÷ 2(2+2) = ?
oomfies solve this pic.twitter.com/0RO5zTJjKk— em ♥︎ (@pjmdolI) July 28, 2019
It might seem straightforward but the equation baffled the internet which was divided between the answers 16 and 1.
1. The amount of people saying 16 need to retake math 😭— JKOurEuphoria (@JungKookQueen97) July 28, 2019
It's either 1 or 16 depending on which mathematician you listen to, because order of operations isn't a hard and fast rule, and math is really just a language.— 🇳🇴Moon-faced Assassin of Joy🇺🇸 (@NomeDaBarbarian) July 30, 2019
And nothing is true. pic.twitter.com/d324s8grlA
Even calculators had different answers for the question. The equation sent the internet into a frenzy with people claiming themselves to be the real math experts.
i have 2 math degrees it’s 1— laur♏️ (@lauram_williams) July 30, 2019
But the problem lies in the fact that the question is set up to be misleading and of course there is a correct answer. The truth is that regardless of whether you have been taught math algebra with the BODMAS system (brackets, order, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction) or the PEMDAS one (parentheses, indices, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction), the answer is still 16.
Begin by solving the bracketed addition and you get 8 ÷ 2 x 4 =?. Then, according to both BODMAS and PEMDAS, you solve it from left to right.
You, therefore, do 8 divided by 2 and then you multiply by 4. Simple!
The equation could have been a lot clearer with an extra parenthesis to indicate the order of solving but then it wouldn't have been as fun.