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Internet Torn on Math Problem With an Answer of 1 or 16

The Internet Is Completely Divided Over the Answer to This Simple Math Equation

The internet is completely divided over a simple algebraic equation that your middle schooler would likely solve in seconds. However, it's not that it's difficult to get to an answer; it's a matter of which answer you get. Some of those who solve the equation are getting an answer of 1 and others are landing at 16.

The confusion that's coming up is a result of the way people were taught the order of operations, or PEMDAS — remember that acronym? Here's a brief refresher as to how PEMDAS works, for those who need it:

P: solve the equation inside any parentheticals first.
E: solve any exponential equations (hint: there aren't any in this one, so we can ignore this)
M: solve any multiplication problems*
D: solve any division problems*
A: solve any addition problems*
S: solve any subtraction problems*

*In most instances, you're taught to solve the MD and AS portions of PEMDAS from left to right, but some people were taught that if there's a number attached to a parenthetical (which implies that you multiply the two numbers), that you're still working on the parenthesis portion of PEMDAS. (Which is also known as BOMDAS in some parts of the world, but ultimately means the same thing.)

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Depending on how you were taught PEMDAS, this is how you get both answers:

How to Get to an Answer of 16

Here's the equation: 8 / 2(2+2)

First, add the numbers in the parenthesis, which equal 4. Then, multiply and divide from left to right. First, 8 divided by 2 is 4, and 4 times 4 is 16.

How to Get to an Answer of 1

Here's the equation once again: 8 / 2(2+2)

First, add the numbers in the parenthesis, which equal 4. Then, to finish off the parenthesis, multiply 4 by the 2, which equals 8. Then, 8 divided by 8 is 1.

Now technically, even though the internet is torn, the correct answer is 16. BUT before you @ me, hear me out: say the equation was 8 / 2 x 4, thus eliminating the parenthesis component completely. You would always work from left to right, which would give you the answer of 16 (8 divided by 2 is 4, times 4 is 16).

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