In am new to Mathematica and just learning how to use it.

I have encountered a rather unusual problem, most operations, such as + - / * work fine, at least when I used the numpad to type them in. However, I cannot get the power operation to work consistently. Somtimes mathematica will resolve and expression such as 2^2, other times it will not. The problem also occurs with the alternatives, such as ctrl + ^ and power[2, 2]. I do not understand why it is working so inconsistently. Can you please provide me with help regarding this function?