Order of Operations

Initial Definition

The rules of order of operations describe the sequence used to evaluate an expression.

The rules are as follows:

1. Do operations inside parentheses.

2. Do multiplication and division from left to right.

3. Do addition and subtraction from left to right.

These rules are used so that anyone who evaluates an expression will attain the same result.

Example One

2 + 3 x 4

Although it may seem natural to add the two the three first, the rules of order of operation tell us to multiply the three and the four first.

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If you wanted to write the expression so that the two and the three are added first, write the 2 + 3 in parentheses. Operations inside parentheses must be done first.

Example Two