This simple algebra question is baffling everyone. Can you solve it?

Narjas Zatat@Narjas_Zatat
Tuesday 06 September 2016 12:20
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It's that time of the year again. Children are starting school and maths equations are being circulated around the internet.

A seemingly simple algebra question - with pictures! - is giving people pause.

And images were supposed to make it more simplistic. Right.

Answers are wildly varied, with 22, 21 and 41 being popular contenders.

So let's break it down.

If we take:

  • The horse as X

  • The horeshoe as Y

  • The cowboy boots as Z

Method 1

Equation 1

3X =30

X=10

Equation 2

10+Y+Y=18

10+2Y=18

2Y=8

Y=4

Equation 3

4-2Z=2

-2Z=-2

Z=1

PROBLEM

1+(10x4)=41

Method one is wrong, because it counts two horseshoes as one. As you can see in the final line, there is only one horseshoe, meaning all the other times there were two.

Method 2

So if we correct the horseshoe confusion:

X=10

Equation 2

10+Y+Y+Y+Y=18

10+4Y=18

4Y=8

Y=2

Equation 3

4-2Z=2

-2Z=-2

Z=1

PROBLEM

1+10x2=??

10x2=20

This is also wrong because it confuses the order of operations. Several of the answers on Facebook are wrong because people have confused BODMAS.

Method 3

Ok, so keeping in mind the order of operations, and singular horseshoes:

X=10

Y=2

Z=1

PROBLEM

1+(10x2)=??

The answer then, is 21.

The equation, which is also on imgur is causing confusion for another reason.

There are two of these algebra images floating around - one that asks you to multiply the horse and the horseshoe, and one that asks you to add them together.

For God's sake internet, get it together.

What did you get? Let us know in the comments section, below:

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