Science, Tech, Math › Math The Associative Property in Math Groupings have no effect on the answers in addition and multiplication Share Flipboard Email Print Using the associative property in math, answers to calculations will be the same no matter how the numbers are grouped together. Do the math inside parentheses first!. Adam Crowley, Getty Images Math Math Tutorials Geometry Arithmetic Pre Algebra & Algebra Statistics Exponential Decay Functions Worksheets By Grade Resources View More By Deb Russell Math Expert Deb Russell is a school principal and teacher with over 25 years of experience teaching mathematics at all levels. our editorial process Deb Russell Updated November 18, 2019 According to the associative property, the addition or multiplication of a set of numbers is the same regardless of how the numbers are grouped. The associative property involves three or more numbers. The parentheses indicate the terms that are considered one unit. The groupings are within the parenthesis—hence, the numbers are associated together. In addition, the sum is always the same regardless of how the numbers are grouped. Likewise, in multiplication, the product is always the same regardless of the grouping of the numbers. Always handle the groupings in the brackets first, according to the order of operations. Addition Example When you change the groupings of addends, the sum does not change: (2 + 5) + 4 = 11 or 2 + (5 + 4) = 11(9 + 3) + 4 = 16 or 9 + (3 + 4) = 16 When the grouping of addends changes, the sum remains the same. Multiplication Example When you change the groupings of factors, the product does not change: (3 x 2) x 4 = 24 or 3 x (2 x 4) = 24 When the grouping of factors changes, the product remains the same just as changing the grouping of addends does not change the sum.