# How to get 14 from 5 3's and only using the four basic operations and brackets

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• Feb 19th 2011, 04:19 AM
aussiedave
How to get 14 from 5 3's and only using the four basic operations and brackets
Hey, I was just trolling the web and saw this question of how to make 14 from 5 3's and it got me puzzled. You can only use +,-,x,/ and brackets but I just can't seem to get it. According to where this question is asked here I have 5 lots of 3&#039;s, using any of the plus, minus, times or divide symbols, how do I get the total of 14 ? - Yahoo!7 Answers (and not solved) it's a question for young teens but it seems darn hard. I know there are many different permutations possible and I started writing a program in R to try and find it but gave up.

Does anyone have any idea about this one or has come across it before? If it were put up as some hard number theory problem then I wouldn't worry but the fact that it's being asked to young high-schoolers is worrying me!

Oh and no, doing things like combining two 3's to make 33 isn't allowed.
• Feb 19th 2011, 10:03 AM
Wilmer
Well, sure looks like it CANNOT be done, else surely someone would have it by now...

Plus how can we be SURE this was the ORIGINAL problem; what if ! (factorial) was originally allowed,
and someone dropped it by error (perhaps thinking it was an exclamation mark!).

3! + 3! + (3 + 3) / 3 = 14
• Feb 19th 2011, 04:26 PM
aussiedave
Yeah I definitely agree with that logic. It was asked to a year 8 so I'm pretty sure they wouldn't know factorials. Maybe powers are allowed too. I haven't checked if that'd work though.
• Feb 19th 2011, 05:02 PM
Wilmer
3^3 - 3! - 3! - 3/3 = 14

3! * 3 - 3 - 3/3 = 14

3! / 3 + 3 * 3 + 3 = 14