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I was just wondering... my avatar

As I see it, mathematics is about being nitpicky.

That is, considering carefully what a question is, and answering exactly what was asked, not something unrelated, and not a long story that doesn't even contain the answer.

So if someone asks for which values of $x$ the equation $x^2=4$ is satisfied (within the context of the real numbers), I expect the answer $x=2$ and $x=-2$.

I don't expect a dissertation on algebra in general, nor do I expect that it's also possible that $y$ might be $3$.

If someone asks me to "find an apple", I might search for one, and point out where one is, which would be a geographic location.

From Dictionary.com:

[fahynd]

Am I missing something?

Can "Find x" actually mean "Calculate the value of x"?

Or otherwise, how is it that in mathematics there are so many problems statements saying something like "Find x", when that is never what is intended?

It seems to me that "Find x" should be more related to treasure hunting, where the treasure is marked with an "x".

*is*intended as a joke, but...As I see it, mathematics is about being nitpicky.

That is, considering carefully what a question is, and answering exactly what was asked, not something unrelated, and not a long story that doesn't even contain the answer.

So if someone asks for which values of $x$ the equation $x^2=4$ is satisfied (within the context of the real numbers), I expect the answer $x=2$ and $x=-2$.

I don't expect a dissertation on algebra in general, nor do I expect that it's also possible that $y$ might be $3$.

If someone asks me to "find an apple", I might search for one, and point out where one is, which would be a geographic location.

From Dictionary.com:

[fahynd]

**verb (used with object)**,

**found, finding**.

- to come upon by chance; meet with:

*He found a nickel in the street.* - to locate, attain, or obtain by search or effort:

*to find an apartment; to find happiness.* - to locate or recover (something lost or misplaced):

*I can't find my blue socks.* - to discover or perceive after consideration:

*to find something to be true.* - ...

Am I missing something?

Can "Find x" actually mean "Calculate the value of x"?

Or otherwise, how is it that in mathematics there are so many problems statements saying something like "Find x", when that is never what is intended?

It seems to me that "Find x" should be more related to treasure hunting, where the treasure is marked with an "x".

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