I always thought maths, at least basic maths, was fairly black and white. 2 + 2 = 4. The only possible solution is 4. Any other answer is wrong.
Turns out, in your own country basic maths is black and white, but when you start leaping international borders it is suddenly… grey.
I grew up following the BODMAS rule. Turns out, in the US they follow the PEMDAS rule:
- PEMDAS would see you work out what was inside the brackets first and then multiply before dividing last, followed by addition then subtraction.
- But the BODMAS method means you would solve the question this way instead: brackets, orders, division, multiplication, addition, subtraction.
Take the above sum. If I was to solve this in Australia using BODMAS you would solve brackets first (4), then divide 8 by 2 (also 4) then multiply 4 x 4 = 16.
Following the US method of PEMDAS you solve the brackets first (4), then multiply (2 x 4 = 8), then divide 8 by 8 = 1.
This means depending where you are in the world, the answer to the above equation is either 16 or 1. Is it just me, or does that seem to be a major problem?
I’m hoping some of my US readers can either confirm or deny the PEMDAS rule. And if it is correct, why are the rules different? Please explain so my head can stop hurting.