DISCOVER

# Basic Math Rules for Adding & Subtracting With Brackets

Updated May 03, 2018

The brackets in mathematical expressions are used to show the order of operations. Brackets can drastically alter the result of an expression. For example, if you were figuring out the amount of money you had if you started with £6 and spent £1.30 on one purchase and £2 on another and you wrote £6 - £1.30 + £2, you would get £7, more than you started with and obviously incorrect. Instead, use brackets as in the expression £6 - [\$2 + £2] to find the correct answer of £2.

## Order of Operations

When there are brackets in the expression, perform the operations in the brackets first. For example, given the expression 10 - [2 + 4], simplify 2 + 4 to get 6, so the expression would then be 10 - 6 with a solution of 4. If there are multiple addition and subtraction problems within the brackets, proceed from left to right. For example, if the expression was 15 + [3 - 5 + 4], subtract 5 from 3 to get -2, then add 4 to get 2 so your expression would then be 15 + 2, or 17.