A Viral Math Puzzle Divides the Internet: What's the Result?

Written by Henrik Rothen

Feb.09 - 2024 2:55 PM CET

Photo: Dagens.com
Photo: Dagens.com
A Viral Math Puzzle Divides the Internet.

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Mathematics is a precise science where personal interpretation has no place. Yet, sometimes even simple equations can cause trouble. This is exactly the case here. Although we are dealing with just four numbers smaller than ten, there's going to be some confusion.

This puzzle is taking over social media. Do you know the result?

A tricky math puzzle appeared on the new social media service Threads, sparking huge emotions. It turns out that solving this simple equation is not so easy and obvious. Internet users are arguing over which result is correct.

2+5(8-5)= ?

The post was commented on by tens of thousands of users within just a few hours. Among the proposed answers, two options prevail. Some internet users believe the result of this equation is 17, while others are certain it will be 21.

How is it possible that in the case of uncomplicated calculations, different results can emerge? It's a matter of the order of operations.

Let's trace the steps and see where the discrepancies in the results come from.

First version:

2+5(8-5) = 2+5(3) = 2+5x3 =

6+15 = 21

Second version:

2+5(8-5) = 2+5x3=

2+15 = 17

Google Calculator also indicates 17 as the correct answer.

As a reminder, it's worth noting that operations in parentheses are performed first, followed by multiplication and division, and finally addition and subtraction.