posted by Karen on .
What do the brackets mean in this problem?
Am I suppose to times the answer of everything in the parenthesis by a?
The brackets  are superfluous if the formula is entered into an algebraic calculator or if calculated by someone who follows the rules of algebraic priorities (x and ÷ before + and -), and from left to right for operators of the same priority.
is mathematically the same as
x-3/x+2 is NOT the same as
In the second expression, the parentheses () force the subtraction and addition to be performed before the division. Without the parentheses, the mathematical meaning of the expression is then
x - (3/x) + 2
which is completely different.