The Internet has stood divided on many things; the color of that atrocious dress, Yanny vs. Laurel, etc. However, off all things to go viral this year, I was not expecting a “fairly simple” math problem to be one of them. Then I actually looked at the problem and instantly started second guessing everything my public education taught me about numbers. “1+2=21? Wait, no. What?” I fell into a rabbit hole of research because there’s no way I should have a college degree and get the answer wrong. Take a look at the math problem that has Twitter up in arms!

oomfies solve this pic.twitter.com/0RO5zTJjKk

— ❦ (@pjmdolI) July 28, 2019

To most, this problem seems like simple math. Everyone seems to agree that you should start with the parentheses, aka the “P” in PEMDAS. The next step, however, is the reason why the math equation went viral. Twitter users had an absolute meltdown trying to figure out what the correct answer is. Some swore by 16 being the correct answer, but others explained that 1 was actually the answer. So, what is it? This is literally what twitter looked like trying to solve this equation and my brain hurts.

Moral to the story is that I’m still confused, but the discrepancy comes from where you learned “order of operations.” Some learned it as “PEMDAS” (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) while other’s learned it as “BOMDAS” (brackets, orders, division and multiplication, and addition and subtraction). Here’s the best twitter breakdowns.

I'm also a math major! I have to say that this is incorrect. PEMDAS is only correct when doing the m and d (also a and s) from left to right. Once we get to the point 8/2(4) you do 8/2 which is 4 and times 4 it is 16. Plugging into Wolfram alpha will confirm this

— WithoutDoug.bsky.social (@WithoutDoug) August 1, 2019

Apparently, the confusion arises bc of variants of an acronym used to learn the 'orders of operations'. *Sigh* Does no one understand that multiplication & division are of the same order level? As are addition & subtraction. If taught conceptually, ppl would realize that both… pic.twitter.com/4NhqPKF7id

— Dolvin Speight (@DolvinSp8) July 30, 2019

4 out of 3 people struggle with math… 😉😂 #math #mathproblem pic.twitter.com/DOD9YP6r4m

— Kim (@CastellKim) June 26, 2019

So what do you think? Let us know in the comments below! Meanwhile, I’m still over here like…where’s my calculator?