What Does 28 plus 47 Mean to You?

quip cardToday on Twitter, someone asked the question, “What happens in your brain when you add 28+47? Tell me your process – let me see how your brain works.”

Here were a few of the responses. Which one is closest to how you would answer the question?

a. Add the 7 and 8 remember 5; carry 1 and add to 2+4 equals 75

b. 20+40= 60; 8+7= 15; 60+10+5=75

c. 28+2 + 47 -2 = 30+ 45 = 75. (Basically take one number to the nearest multiple of 10 by adding the deficit from the second number)

d. I hit the little circle in the bottom of my phone and then open the calculator ap. I switch back and forth several times because I’m dyslexic and don’t trust myself to hold the numbers in my head the right way around. And it tells me it’s 75 which is more than 60 and less than 80.

e. Me: “Alexa, what is 28 + 47?”; Alexa: “I’m sorry, I did not understand the question.” Me: “Alexa, I said, what is 28 + 47?” Alexa: “Here’s Yellow by Coldplay.”

f. Because 28 = 4×7 , the 3nd Cosine of the 4rd logarithm of π squared divided by the binomial coefficient can be used find the 2st normal form of the bending moment of the right angled trilateral …75 I can’t make it any simpler.

g. When I was 28 I thought 47 was ancient. Now I only hope I make it to 75.

h. 8 unicorns + 7 unicorns = 15 unicorns; 4 kittens + 2 kittens = 6 kittens; 6 kittens + 1 unicorn = 7 unikittens; 7 conkittenated with 5 = 75 unikittens.

i. It’s a bit of an age gap… I forsee the relationship lasting at least 5 years. If it’s long distance the entire time? Probably less. But then again — ya might be soul mates.. what would I know?

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31 thoughts on “What Does 28 plus 47 Mean to You?

  1. So good! And now with baking requiring conversion in recipes of cups to ounces to grams, it’s really good we have cell phones!


  2. I picked ‘a’ because I am entirely by the book. But because I am, I didn’t expect ‘b’ through ‘i’, so the rest of the interpretations were unexpectedly entertaining 🙂


    1. That is how I add too. I learned how to do ‘arithmetic’ before New Math was brought in.
      I didn’t expect any of the other answers, which made for one of the best Twitter feeds in a long time!


  3. It’s all relative, isn’t it? And math has never been my strong point. Which is probably why I persist in believing I’m young when I’m actually 63…….


  4. Beyond “What’s 28 + and 47?” and “How did you do it?”, we might consider a follow-up question:
    Whatever the method, when you get the answer —
    👉 How do you know whether it’s right?
    Seldom considered, this question touches the heart of numbers, and all knowing.
    There are two common responses:
    “Someone taught me”
    “I don’t know” (the best beginning to all exploration?)

    The first avoids the issue. You aren’t drawing on a previously learned answer to that particular question. Even if you believe you are merely following a received method, how do you know you’ve done it correctly?

    More fundamentally, real maths involves recognition on the part of any practitioner
    – of the meaning of the problem and its component elements
    – that the method (whether learned or discovered) works, leading to consistent, fruitful, true results
    – that it has been performed correctly.

    So how do we know we are right about any of this — even the mere meaning of “add”, “answer”, or any part of this question or thread?

    Surprisingly, it comes down to feeling! Not emotion like anger or jealousy, but what chemist and philosopher Georg Kühlewind called ‘feeling attention’ or ‘cognitive feeling.’
    This is at the heart of all meaning, even the merely logical.


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