Hi Brad,
The convention in mathematics, when evaluating an arithmetic expression, is to first evaluate what is inside parentheses, then perform any exponentiation (powers), next division, then multiplication and finally any additions and subtractions. Hence for 3^{4} first evaluate the power
3^{4} = 3 3 3 3 = 81
so
3^{4} =  3 3 3 3 = 81
Likewise
(3)^{4} =  (3) (3) (3) (3) = 81
and
(3)^{4} = (3) (3) (3) (3) = 81
Penny
