Simple Maths Equation Has The Internet Stumped

by : Cameron Frew on : 02 Oct 2019 14:05
Maths Equation The Epoch TimesThe Epoch Times

As turns out, the easiest way to divide the office is with a seemingly simple maths equation. 

Addition, subtraction, division, multiplication: we all learned these tools in school. Some people relish arithmetic, while numbers are a nightmare for others.


One particular equation stumped the The Epoch Times office. UNILAD had a look, and it’s safe to say we were left frustrated.

Mr BeanMr BeanEndemol UK

It has all the bits of a quality BODMAS problem, but what is the definitive answer to 15 – 1 (12 ÷ 4 + 1)?


There are two predominant methods of solving simple equations. PEDMAS (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction) and BODMAS (Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction). The answer you get will rely heavily upon which method you were taught.

Three answers seem to be circulating in people’s responses: 18, 11 and 56.


I, a staggeringly unqualified maths guru, am here to tell you what the answer is once and for all – it’s 11.

Let me walk you through it. We’ll use the BODMAS method for this equation.

We need to sort out the brackets first, as per the method. Inside the brackets, we need to do 12/4 first, which equals 3, before adding the 1, which equals 4.

The Hangover gifThe Hangover gifWarner Bros.

It becomes much simpler after that: we’re left with 15 – 1(4). Since we’ve sorted the inside of the brackets, we must multiply the number on the outside with the contents of the inside of the bracket – this leaves us with 15 – 4. Of course, this equals 11.

While I may not be an authority on the world of maths, I can promise you this is correct.

Liar Liar GifLiar Liar GifUniversal Pictures

It’s reminiscent of a past equation that boggled the Twittersphere earlier this year. The storm erupted after @pjmdolI posted what appeared to be an innocuous equation – but people couldn’t agree.


The posed equation is: 8/2(2+2) = ?

Again, people couldn’t seem to agree, with some users saying 16, and others saying 1.

However, according to Twitter user @bstpeach, the problem is written in a way designed to stir confusion.

Check out their tweet:

Another day, another equation, another reason to fucking hate maths.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Trump Needs To Pay $570,000 Debt To El Paso Before He Tours Border, Judge Says

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Viral


The Epoch Times
  1. The Epoch Times

    Relatively Simple Math Problem Stumps Many