 Quandaries and Queries Name: Amy Who is asking: Student Level of the question: All Question: My teacher gave me the problem (-26) on our homework. She marked it wrong when I wrote down -64 for an answer. She said the correct answer was 64. Can you explain why it is 64? Amy, if it was -(26) then you were right but if the question was (-2)6 then it means ((-1)6)(26) = (1)(64) = 64. Another way to see this is that -(26) = -(2 2 2 2 2 2) = -64 and (-26) = (-2) (-2) (-2) (-2) (-2) (-2) = 64 Penny Hi there, If the question was written exactly like you showed (-26), then you are correct and the answer should have been -64. However, if the question was actually (-2)6, then your teacher is correct and the answer is 64. The placement of the brackets is critical in situations where there are negative signs with exponents. Ex. (-26) does not need the brackets and means the same as -26. This follows from the way we perform mathematical operations. We do exponentiation before addition or subtraction. -26 = -1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = -64 (-2)6 = (-2)(-2)(-2)(-2)(-2)(-2) = 64 Hope this helps. Leeanne   