Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Steve, a student:

I am confused by BEDMAS in this question

100 / 2 x 3 + 1=

I believe it to be 151

Am I correct?

Hi Steve,

These problems annoy me as much, or even more than they annoy you. No mathematician or anyone who uses mathematics would ever write this expression. Mathematical notation should be clear and unambiguous, which this is not. You don't want to read my diatribe but this question reinforces the idea that mathematics is some ritualistic endeavour where you have to make special incantations before you start, "BEDMAS", "PEDMAS", "FOIL", "CAST" or some other acronym.

Anyway a strict reading of BEDMAS has division before multiplication so I also would get 151.


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