Math CentralQuandaries & Queries


Question from Jennifer, a student:

1.8 + 3.2 / 0.4 - 4.375 x 0.2

Hi Jennifer,

In an arithmetic expression you need to perform the multiplications and divisions before the additions and subtractions. Thus with your expression

\[1.8 + \frac{3.2}{0.4} - 4.375 \times 0.2\]

you need to first calculate $\large \frac{3.2}{0.4}$ and $4.375 \times 0.2.$ For the fraction $\large \frac{3.2}{0.4}$ I would find an equivalent fraction by multiplying the numerator and denominator by $10$ and then divide the resulting denominator into the numerator. Now that you have performed the division and multiplication you can add $1.8$ and the result of the division and then subtract the result of the multiplication.

I hope this helps,

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