Stupid Math Questions

I never turn down a chance to be a smart-ass. One of the best things higher mathematics can teach you is how to go back and correct almost everyone who claimed to be teaching you math. It's almost impossible to a cover a decent amount of material in a math course without sacrificing correctness. This is true in grade school when you learn tons of stuff that isn't real math and it is true in grad school when writing one proof that is perfectly rigorous takes two weeks. Here are some common questions that need to be rephrased before they make any sense. The links point to where I found the questions but they could've come from anywhere. If they look like they were taken straight out of your high school calculus textbook, they probably were.

Stupid

Original version of question 1

Smart

Better version of question 1

Stupid

Original version of question 2

Smart

Better version of question 2

Stupid

Original version of question 3

Smart

Better version of question 3

Stupid

Original version of question 4

Smart

Better version of question 4

Stupid

Original version of question 5

Smart

Better version of question 5

Stupid

Original version of question 6

Smart

Better version of question 6

Stupid

Original version of question 7

Smart

Better version of question 7

Stupid

Original version of question 8

Smart

Better version of question 8

I didn't sit down a read a book to find out that people implicitly have a coefficient ring in mind when they use the word "factorable". Things like that are part of the wonderful simplicity that falls into place when you expose yourself to enough math. I think the reason why many people struggle learning math is because they regard it as a set of rigid rules that are always becoming more complex. But this is completely wrong; it is a language. There is a certain amount of fun you can have when you learn a written or spoken language. You can correct double negatives, use long words just for the hell of it and go to great lengths to avoid ending a sentence with a preposition. Because mathematics is a very friendly language to those who demand precision, the amount of fun you can have with it is unlimited.

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