# This "3 = ?" maths question is going viral and people are confused over the answer

17 October 2023, 12:48 Who Bumped Who? The Viral Debate ANALYSED

By Katie Louise Smith

If 9=90, 8=72, 7= 56, 6=42, then what does 3= ?

Ready for another viral maths question? Of course you are!

It's been a while since the internet has been terrorised by a maths equation that has multiple possible answers. A few years back, the simple '27 + 48' question left people baffled. That was followed by the '8 ÷ 2(2 + 2)' challenge. And now we've got another one...

A tweeted, shared by @Enezator, has now gone viral and the replies are full of people trying to figure out the answer to the latest viral maths equation. The image attached to the tweet features a question, reading: '9 = 90, 8 = 72, 7 = 56, 6 = 42, 3 =?'

Over 1.4 million people have viewed the post, but the answer has stumped thousands of people.

There's actually multiple ways to try and figure out what the answer is, and people are always ending up conflicted between two answers: 12 and 18.

So, how the hell do you end up with 18? People are sharing their simple multiplication method: Assuming 9 x 10 = 90, you can then multiply the next number in the list by the former.

• 9 x 10 = 90
• 8 x 9 = 72
• 7 x 8 = 56
• 6 x 7 = 42

By working their way through exactly what's written on the list, people have been multiplying the number on the left by the number above it. By jumping straight to '3 x 6', they're getting 18 as an answer.

However, users have also suggested you could simply work it out using the n * (n + 1) equation.

So if you actually continue the numerical pattern, adding '5 x 6 = 30' and '4 x 5 = 20' into the mix, you'll end up with '3 x 4' and the answer is 12.

Providing another method, one Twitter user wrote: "It’s a countdown. 9 x (10) , 8 x (10-1) , 7 x (10-2), 6 x (10-3). 5 x (10-4) , 4 x (10-5), 3 x (10-6). So 3 x 4 = 12. Answer is 12."

"Unless they go (10-4) on 3, then would be 18," they added. Basically, the answer here all depends on whether or not you include the missing 5 and 4 from the list into account.

Another method that has popped up in the comments might convince you that the answer is actually 12. If you multiply the number on the left by itself, and then add the same number to that number, you'll end up with the answer.

• (9 x 9) + 9 = 90
• (8 x 8) + 8 = 72
• (7 x 7) + 7 = 56
• (6 x 6) + 6 = 42
• (3 x 3) + 3 = 12 