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What is the answer to 6/2(1+2)? My answer was 1 but many others say the answer is 9. Which is it?

What is the answer to 6/2(1+2)? My answer was 1 but many others say the answer is 9. Which is it?

I thought it would be:






The statement 6/2(1+2) is ambiguous.  It is not clear if the (1+2) is part of the numerator or the denominator and this leads to the confusion.  This can be common when strings are written on the PC because entering all the parentheses or positioning the numerator and denominator above and below is somewhat inconvenient.  It just requires the writer to be fastidious about how the string is typed out so that it presents the intended information.

Good Luck,   BruceS

I disagree, this statement is absolutely not ambiguous. Because it is written linearly (in one line), you have to follow the order of operations, from left to right.

You'll have to solve the 1+2 first. That gives you 6 / 2 * 3.

Then from left to right. 6 / 2 = 3.

3 * 3 = 9.

Bruce would be right if there were parenthesis around the 6/2, however there are not, so the order of operations is very clearly defined.


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2 Answers

Hey Carmelita, you just have to be careful with order of operations. Remember PEMDAS:

1. Parentheses

2. Exponents

3. Multiplication and Division from left to right

4. Addition and Subtraction from left to right

In this problem, you were correct in doing the (1+2) part first since it is in parentheses, but once you get down to 6/2*3, you only have division and multiplication, so you are supposed to go from left to right which gives:


Hope that helped.


Carmelita, I see the problem. If you look at the equation this way 6/2)(1+2) the answer is 9. However, if you look and the equation the way you did 6 ÷ 2(1+2) the answer is 1. You need to look closely at how the question is written. Robert


Robert, parentheses are still first, then multiplication or division, whichever comes first.  In this problem 6/2(1+2), we add 1+2, getting 3, 6/2=3, then we have 3*3=9.