# Are one-by-one matrices equivalent to scalars?

I am a programmer, so to me $[x] \neq x$—a scalar in some sort of container is not equal to the scalar. However, I just read in a math book that for $1 \times 1$ matrices, the brackets are often dropped. This strikes me as very sloppy notation if $1 \times 1$ matrices are not at least functionally equivalent to scalars. As I began to think about the matrix operations I am familiar with, I could not think of any (tho I am weak on matrices) in which a $1 \times 1$ matrix would not act the same way as a scalar would when the corresponding scalar operations were applied to it. So, is $[x]$ functionally equivalent to $x$? And can we then say $[x] = x$? (And are those two different questions, or are entities in mathematics “duck typed” as we would say in the coding world?)