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Around 130,000 people waded into a debate as to whether the answer to a simple maths equation was 17 or 21 – with one user making and filming a presentation about it

Every now and again a maths problem will be posted to Twitter that sets the replies alight and divides users.

A recent tweet posted by Twitter user and reality star Amir Osborn has done just that.

The tweet simply reads: “What answer y’all get?” above a picture of the mathematical equation.

The maths problem reads 2+5 (8-5) and with 14.3K quote tweets at the time of writing, it’s clear that Twitter users are keen to tackle the equation themselves.

As usual with such questions posed to Twitter, users of the platform quickly became divided, mainly over whether the answer is 17 or 21. Others even found themselves with completely different answers much to the comedic delight drummed up in the replies.

So who was right? Well, those who answered 17 solved the equation correctly despite a large proportion claiming that 21 was most definitely the right answer.

One user humorously commented: “I asked my mom because she taught math for 32 years, and she also got 17. It’s 17. Fight me.”

Another added: “To everyone saying 21… you gonna call Google?” referencing the fact that even Google’s built-in calculator works out the answer as being 17.

Hilariously, and rather dedicatedly, one specific Twitter user even responded with a filmed presentation detailing the equation on a projection behind him as he endeavoured to explain how people were reaching the answer of 17.

Another elaborated by commenting: “Do the ones in the ( ) first, then multiply 5 with 3, you get 15. Add 15 with 2, you get 17.”

There were also plenty of references to PEMDAS (also known as ‘Please excuse my dear aunt Sally’), an acronym used by American teachers to teach the order of operations in an equation:

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P arentheses
E xponents
M ultiplication
D ivision
A ddition
S ubtraction

Over on our side of the pond, we might be more familiar with BODMAS: brackets, orders, division, multiplication, addition and subtraction.

When using such a system, the correct answer of 17 should be obtained but that doesn’t stop the seemingly large army of those strongly believing it results in 21 from weighing in with their incorrect versions of working through the mathematical problem.

The divide was so strong that it resulted in Amir starting a poll under the original tweet two days later, asking ‘What’s the real answer?’ 17 or 21 being the options.

So far there are 129,639 votes in total with those choosing 17 as the answer taking the lead with 80.8 per cent.

Despite replies saturated with explanations and workings out, the war still rages on between those in the replies disputing that the answer could be 21.

Now, while the answer is indeed 17, it is refreshing to see people getting involved with mathematics, albeit it via a Twitter thread.