This math equation is dividing the internet, and no one can agree on an answer

Sage Anderson

8 ÷ 2(2+2). Simple, right? WRONG. 

As someone who hasn't calculated anything more difficult than a restaurant tip in years, may I say that I can't believe we've made math trend on Twitter. You're all really gonna make me pull out my dusty TI-48 graphing calculator, huh. I'm really gonna have to dig through my post-grad brain like SpongeBob's memory files, burnt to a crisp, and calculate this equation. 

OK, I guess we're doing this. Pop quiz folks — can you solve this controversial post?

Pencils down. What answer did you get? 1 or 16? The real answer may surprise you: no one can decide conclusively. Pretty anticlimactic, huh? Here I was thinking that some dashing math majors would sweep in and put an end to the madness, but even they can't stop this viral fight now. 

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The answer lies in the way you go about solving it, and that depends on where in the world you learned math. If you use the PEMDAS method, the order of the equation is Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction. But if you were raised on the BODMAS method, then the order is Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction. 

So technically, both are the right answers! Boo, that's no fun. As a millennial with pre-new math education, my conclusive answer is 1. But who am I to talk, I'm just a writer — let's hear what the experts have to say. 

But the distinction between answers lies more in which notation you use to solve the equation, ÷ or /, than the difference between PEMDAS and BODMAS. It's intentionally confusing, and will yield you either 1 or 16 respectively, depending on how you input it and what order you solve the equation. 

As it turns out, the way the equation is written intentionally confusing. A post meant to intentionally stew chaos on the internet? How groundbreaking. 

There you have it folks! Math. We sure did solve it.

UPDATED Aug. 1, 2019, 9:15 a.m. EDT with additional reasoning for why people are getting different answers

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