# Talk:2687: Division Notation

Fun fact: In Poland, we don't write the long division like that; we just write A:B with the bar above. I was VERY confused the first time I saw that notation. 172.70.246.235 21:03, 19 October 2022 (UTC)

- Unrelated to Polish notation, i presume? 172.70.134.13 22:43, 19 October 2022 (UTC)Bumpf
- Unrelated. Never used Polish notation in school. 172.71.160.23 10:25, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- In German elementary school we learned the a:b notation. When we learned more complex divisions in secondary school it was with the "scientist" notation. And as I am a software engineer AND (presumably) a normal person I use in general the respective notations. Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 07:24, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

For me, the version on the xkcd website has an additional line ("A/B: Software Engineer") that's not on this site. I think the comic might have been updated. Is anyone else seeing that? JBYoshi (talk) 23:20, 19 October 2022 (UTC)

For the Unicode one, I think it’s a reference to ⁄ (U+2044, fraction slash) or characters like ½, ¼, etc. - Cherryblossom (talk) 00:24, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

Is it important to note that 1/2 auctocorrects to ½ in many text-based programs like Microsoft Word?--Theunlucky (talk) 02:32, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

It's possible to use fraction-style notation in LaTeX by using \frac, or am I missing something?--162.158.2.125 05:49, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

"the long division symbol is only used in some countries". Only English-speaking ones, to be more precise. Most of the countries of the world use a different notation. 172.68.51.80 06:19, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

In the UK, the 'long division symbol' is nowadays often referred to (particularly with Primary classes, children aged 4 - 11) as the "Bus Stop Method". Because it looks like a UK bus shelter. MarquisOfCarrabass (talk) 07:07, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- I always used (still use, on the rare occasions that I do it) the notation inverted - B)_A - so that the answer is output beneath the problem, which makes more sense to me, given that we generally read down the page. I guess that would be a vandalised bus stop?172.70.162.147 09:16, 20 October 2022 (UTC)
- When doing long-division, the intermediary sums (the calculated 'integer remainders' subtractions of progressively high-to-low powers of ten) would be done below in the 'standard' long-multiplication/addig/subtraction direction. The answer-figure is progressively created by the 'carry'-inverse to these more normal-looking arithmatic. Or so I surmise. Haven't used long-division, much, in 40 years or so (except in a polynomial-factoring thing, occasionally, using an extended version of the principle upon powers-of-whatever) so I might have the wrong-idea as to why the answer goes high (in that the non-answer that nevertheless leads to the answer goes low). ;) 162.158.159.29 16:17, 20 October 2022 (UTC)
- For me, the remainders go in small figures above the next integer, so that they basically form a new number to divide.172.70.86.48 08:27, 24 October 2022 (UTC)

- When doing long-division, the intermediary sums (the calculated 'integer remainders' subtractions of progressively high-to-low powers of ten) would be done below in the 'standard' long-multiplication/addig/subtraction direction. The answer-figure is progressively created by the 'carry'-inverse to these more normal-looking arithmatic. Or so I surmise. Haven't used long-division, much, in 40 years or so (except in a polynomial-factoring thing, occasionally, using an extended version of the principle upon powers-of-whatever) so I might have the wrong-idea as to why the answer goes high (in that the non-answer that nevertheless leads to the answer goes low). ;) 162.158.159.29 16:17, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

As a Dutch primary schoolchild, I have used a÷b for calculations and "a over b" for fractions (e.g. ⅘). For more difficult divisions, like what is 785/35, we used Staartdelingen (nl), long division, of which the primary notation is 35/735\. I think in early highschool we started using a over b for more complex calculations, "like (x+3) over 5 = 2, what is x". I had up to this XKCD never seen B⟌A, and would confuse it for what we use as square root symbol (√). IIVQ (talk) 07:16, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- Come to think of it, it's kind of odd that we used ":" for division. Why are there this many different division notations anyway? Same for multiplication. There's x, *, ⋅, x but centered vertically, and concatenation (for letter variables)!
- The : operator is for ratios, where a:b could be a/b or b/a, but also metaphors, where a:b::c:d means a is to b as c is to d. 162.158.166.73 09:05, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

In Austria, school children are using the "scientist" notation from this comic. 172.68.50.51 08:17, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- Same thing in Russia 172.71.98.97 08:46, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

I live in Denmark, and “÷” seems to be often used here for subtraction, instead of a minus sign! Got confused a few times. nicolas (talk) 08:52, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- Also from DK and have often seen ÷ used as % and on my keyboard as I type this there is a ÷ on the number part of the keyboard to the right. But when I push it I get this: "/" In school we used this A:B to mean A/B, just as in Poland as mentioned above. Today I would write 10/2 not 10:2 or 10÷2. But I never used the last version. --Kynde (talk) 19:08, 23 October 2022 (UTC)

- tableau
- tab·leau /ˌtaˈblō/ noun
- a group of models or motionless figures representing a scene from a story or from history; a tableau vivant. "in the first act the action is presented in a series of tableaux"

I don't think it means what the editor including it thinks it means. 172.69.22.185 09:02, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- "A graphic description or representation" - https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tableau
- It derives from the idea of 'things set out on a table'. The arrangement of cards in a solitaire game is also called a tableau. 172.70.162.147 09:24, 20 October 2022 (UTC)
- changed to radices. 172.70.206.93 10:18, 20 October 2022 (UTC)
- Well that's not right, is it? - "the pungent usually crisp root of a widely cultivated Eurasian plant (Raphanus sativus) of the mustard family usually eaten raw"... 172.71.178.13 13:22, 20 October 2022 (UTC)
- Naw... A radish is "like, almost 'rad', man, but not quite!", while "radices" are totally cool freezer-food!

- Well that's not right, is it? - "the pungent usually crisp root of a widely cultivated Eurasian plant (Raphanus sativus) of the mustard family usually eaten raw"... 172.71.178.13 13:22, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- changed to radices. 172.70.206.93 10:18, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

The discussion of matrices and commutative rings is off topic. The comic is clearly about scalars alone. Please! 172.69.134.17 20:46, 20 October 2022 (UTC)

- I thought it seemed on topic given the joke and demographic, but I think it could be presented better. 172.70.110.231 02:07, 21 October 2022 (UTC)