8÷2(2+2) = ?

8÷2(2+2) = ?

Part of a series on Viral Math Problems / Math Bait. [View Related Entries]

Updated Apr 21, 2021 at 04:46AM EDT by shevyrolet.

Added Jul 31, 2019 at 01:25PM EDT by Sophie.

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8÷2(2+2) = ?, sometimes written as 8/2(2+2), is an ambiguous algebraic equation that was widely circulated online in late July 2019. On Twitter, the most common answers to the problem were one and 16, causing lengthy debates between the users over how to identify the correct order of operations.


On July 28th, 2019, Twitter user @pjmdoll[1] shared a picture of the equation edited into a still from the movie The Last: Naruto the Movie and captioned the image "oomfies solve this" (shown below). The tweet gained over 10,400 likes and 2,600 retweets in three days.

em @pjmdoll oomfies solve this 8 2(2 2) ? 5:56 PM Jul 28, 2019 Twitter for iPhone


On July 28th, 2019, various Twitter users replied with screenshots and images of calculators to prove that the answer was either 16 or one. Many brought up order of operations like PEMDAS or BODMAS. Others like @SoWhAT9000 provided explanations about specific parts of the equation. @SoWhAT9000[3] tweeted, "But you still have parenthesis. While PEMDAS works from left to right your not considering one of the most important things in math. You can’t not do anything if you don’t get rid of parenthesis first" (shown below, left). The tweet garnered over 1,100 likes and 44 retweets in three days. On July 30th, while many were certain that the answer was either one or 16, Twitter user @NomeDaBarbarian[2] said, "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. And nothing is true" (shown below, right). The tweet accumulated over 200 likes in a day.

koook @SOWHAT9000 Replying to @mikrogguki @jimnlvr and @pjmdoll But you still have parenthesis. While PEMDAS works from left to right your not considering one of the most important things in math. You can't not do anything if you don't get rid of parenthesis first (Algebra) 9:07 PM ll Sprint 65% aamath distribution law Law Description Commutative law of Addition a b b+a a.b b.a Commutative law of Mutiplication a (b+c)(ab) ca b+c (a+b) Associative law of Addition a c)(a.b).c.a.b.c) (a.b). c Associanive law of MApication a. b+c) (a.b)+ (a.c)a. (bc) a b)+ (a. c) Distributive law Cancelation law of Addition a cb+ca=b acb casb wherect 0 www.ipracticemath.com Distributive law, in mathematics, the law relating the operations of multiplication and addition, stated symbolically, a(b c) ab ac; that is, the monomial factor a is distributed, or separately applied, to each term of the binomial factor b c, resulting in the product ab +ac. Jun 5, 2019 Britannica.com science distributi... Distributive law | mathematics Britannica.com ? About this result Feedback Maths Is Fun definitions distribu... Dafinitinn af niatuihiutia lau 10:10 PM Jul 28, 2019 Twitter for iPhone Moon-faced Assassin of Joy @NomeDaBarbarian Replying to @pjmdoll 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 And nothing is true. Mixed division and multiplication Similarly, there can be ambiguity in the use of the slash symbol / in expressions such as 1/2x.5 If one rewrites this expression as 1 2x and then interprets the division symbol as indicating multiplication by the reciprocal, this becomes: 1 2xx 1x xlxx. X = With this interpretation 1 2x is equal to (1 2)x.li][6]| However, in some of the academic literature multiplication denoted by juxtaposition (also known as implied multiplication) is interpreted as having higher precedence than division, so that 1 2x equals 1 (2x), not (1 2)x For example, the manuscript submission instructions for the Physical Review journals state that multiplication is of higher precedence than division with a slash,7 and this is also the convention observed in prominent physics textbooks such as the Course of Theoretical Physics by Landau and Lifshitz and the Feynman Lectures on Physics.lal 7:51 PM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter Web App

On July 31st, the Mirror[4] cited an Oxford University professor who claimed that,

"without better brackets, there can be ambiguity. There are conventions about the order of operations to try to resolve this, sometimes called BODMAS in UK schools. If it still seems unclear, it's best to include brackets to remove any possible ambiguity. Mathematicians do not generally have problems communicating with each other about things like this, but for whatever reason people seem to enjoy posing these kinds of problems on social media!"

Various Examples

como siempre @skylarrousse Replying to@pjmdoll IM SICK OF YALL 8 2x (2+2 Add the numbers 8 2x 4 Use rules of multiplication and division 16 4:50 PM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter for iPhone JKOurEuphoria @JungKookQueen97 Replying to @pjmdoll 1. The amount of people saying 16 need to retake math 7:03 PM Jul 28, 2019 Twitter for Android laur m @lauram_williams Replying to @pjmdoll et k-e xy(ty) X (Yey) t (Yry y YCyry) X (-2) + Y 2y2 Plus in こ1 2(2) UBRANDS 2:35 PM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter for iPhone @baesikhh Replying to @pjmdoll The replies lowkey making me heated so I solved it. Btw imma math major and also tutor math to high school kids. I'm open to corrections tho 8/2(2+2) Solve the parenthesis first!! 8/2(4) You can not start multiplying/dividing from left to right until the parenthesis is gone. The parenthesis is actually implying that 2x 4 is ONE term so you have to rewrite it as 8/8 which gives you 1 (Side note: The reason 8/2(4) 16 isn't right is because it implies (8/2) x 4. Even if you don't follow pemdas, you can see that this isn't our equation. Our equation can be rewritten as (8/2) x (1/4) which would give you 1. Even simple reasoning would make you realize that dividing should not result in a bigger number) Btw most calculators are programmed to solve from left to right and not follow pemdas which is why you get the wrong answer. Try plugging in something like 2-6x2. According to pemdas, you'd get -10, but a lot of calculators will give you -8 8:26 PM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter for iPhone George W. Kush @supermaddd Replying to @pjmdoll In PEMDAS multiplication and division take equal priority so you do whichever is first from left to right. Same for addition and subtraction. l Virgin O 83% VPN 12:14 PM google.com SHOPPING ALL BOOKS NEWS 8 2(2 2) + 16 ( ) AC 7 8 9 5 1 2 3 0 + 123 Fx More info App Store The Calculator. 12:18 PM Jul 29, 2019 . Twitter for iPhone x CO LO . #JC3 @King_Jc_ Replying to @TheTrashGXD @jake_mcclain_ and @pjmdoll ooo fx-82ZA PLUS CASIO DATURAL-D.P.A.m Disp YATCMPLAMATVCDRG FIXSCI Math 8-2(2+2) SHIFT ON ALPHA MODE SETUP REPLAY Abs r3 x-1 log D 10 VE x2 log In FACT B A sin D cos tan (-) hyp 0999 sin COs tan STO % M RCL ENG ) S D M+ CLR INS OFF 7 9 DEL AC nPr nCr 4 6 rSTAT 1,426 17 Li19 Tweet your reply 4:38 PM Jul 30, 2019 Twitter for iPhone Ln

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