Martin Lewis took to Twitter over the tricky equation (Image: Ben Pruchnie)
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As parents, we've all experienced that dread of offering to help with our child's homework and then realising we have no idea what to do with it. And it seems even finance expert, Martin Lewis, isn't immune.
Mr Lewis, the Money Saving Expert founder who has his own show on ITV1 called the Martin Lewis Money Show, took to Twitter on Thursday to share a question in his daughter's schoolwork.
Writing on social media to his thousands of followers, the financial expert wrote: Just had an interesting chat with mini MSE while she was doing maths homework."
Mr Lewis then revealed the question, which was five plus six times four.
" 5 + 6 x 4 = " asked Mr Lewis, sparking 1,300 replies from social media users.
He then followed it up with: "Interesting to see how many people get it right."
After many replied with "44", Mr Lewis revealed all.
The consumer champion wrote: "44 is wrong."
He added: "29 is right. Owt else you're very wrong. It's due to the BIDMAS rule. The order you do calculations so Brackets, indices, division, multiplication, addition subtraction. So in this case you do 6 x 4 then add 5."
James Freedman replied: "29. Mixed memories of my prep school maths master, who used chalk to write BODMAS in reversed letters on a wooden ruler, before imprinting the mnemonic on the backside of any boy who failed to remember it."
But others moaned about the ambiguity of the question.
One chipped in with: "Where are the brackets?"
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A second agreed, adding: "The key point is that it *shouldn't* have a level of ambiguity about it. By omitting parentheses, it's like having a sentence with a subclause, but you've left out the commas. BODMAS is only a last resort for poor arithmetical grammar."
And a third added: "I wouldn't write that equation as 5+6*4… I would write it as 5+(6*4)=29 or (5+6)*4=44, so as to avoid ambiguity. Anything else is just leaving a trap for people who don't know / have forgotten BODMAS to fall into."