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order of operations

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mathsnmusic, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. mathsnmusic

    mathsnmusic New commenter

    I run the risk of looking silly here, but I'll ask the question anyway:
    What is 120 divided by 20 divided by 4?
    Be nice
  2. I think what they are trying to say is 'do it from left to right'.
    But, as they say, better to put in brackets, particularly if plus and minus are mixed in.

  3. IMHO, it's *much* better to put in brackets; it makes your intentions clear to anyone who reads what you are writing, and it forces them to compute in the order you chose, rather than having to rely on their perhaps-misunderstanding-or-misremembering of the associativity conventions.
  4. adamcreen

    adamcreen Occasional commenter

    My Twitter feed is currently full of people debating whether 6/2(1+2) is 1 or 9.
    Quite frankly I don't care, if you can't be bothered to write the question unambiguously, you're wasting my time.
    This is not interesting even as an academic discussion.

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