Here is the exact problem

8 ÷ 2(2 + 2) = ?

Now.... to me, the answer is 16... because.....

8 ÷ 2(4) = ? (Brackets first)

8 ÷ 2 * 4 = ? (Spread out)

4 * 4 = ? (Left to right)

16 - Answer

The foggy part for me, is automatically assuming that 2 of something means multiplication. Here is where my head is taking me...

8 ÷ 2(x)

Why is the above 8 ÷ 2 * x and not 8 ÷ 2x

If it were 2x, and we substitute the 4 for the x, the answer becomes 1.

Is it as grey an area as it seems where there isn't really a rule, it's just an accepted given?

I completely understand that these equations are written with that particular grey area to cause the division..... but my real question is, with the grey area in play. Does that mean that both answers are in fact potentially correct?

I've tried numerous ways to rationalise the problem. I've tried multiplying both sides of the equation by the problematic part.... but that only makes it more difficult. If 2(x) is an actual thing..... and there isn't an assumption to be made..... does that make BODMAS incomplete and in need of an additional letter being stuck in there?

Or is 2(x) simply 2*x and not 2x?

Answers on a postcard please.