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Greatest common divisor

This topic has 2 expert replies and 0 member replies
j_shreyans Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Greatest common divisor

Post Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:18 am
If x and y are positive integers, which of the following CANNOT be the greatest common divisor of 35x and 20y?

A)5

B)5(x - y)

C)20x

D)20y

E)35x

OAC

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:42 am
j_shreyans wrote:
If x and y are positive integers, which of the following CANNOT be the greatest common divisor of 35x and 20y?

A)5

B)5(x - y)

C)20x

D)20y

E)35x
C: 20x
Dividing 35x by 20x, we get:
35x/20x = 7/4.
Since 35x/20x = non-integer, 20x is not a factor of 35x.
Thus, it is not possible for 20x to be the greatest common divisor of 35x and 20y.

The correct answer is C.

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:46 am
Quote:
If x and y are positive integers, which of the following CANNOT be the greatest common divisor of 35x and 20y?

A) 5
B) 5(x - y)
C) 20x
D) 20y
E) 35x
The wording of the question tells us that 4 of the answer choices CAN be the greatest common divisor (GCD) of 35x and 20y, and one of them cannot.

So, might BEGIN by eliminating those answer choices that CAN be the greatest common divisor of 35x and 20y

A) 5
5 is a DIVISOR of both 35x and 20y, but can it be the GCD of 35x and 20y?
YES. If x = 1 and y = 1, then 5 is the GCD of 35x and 20y.
ELIMINATE A

B) 5(x - y)
CAN 5(x - y) be the GCD of 35x and 20y?
YES. If x = 3 and y = 2, then 5(x - y) = 5, 35x = 105 and 20y = 40
Since 5 is the GCD of 105 and 40, we can ELIMINATE B

Aside: It can be tough finding values such that 4 of the answer choices are, indeed, the GCD of 35x and 20y. So, we should also be looking for another approach that shows that an answer choice CANNOT be the GCD of 35x and 20y

C) 20x
CAN 20x be the GCD of 35x and 20y?
NO!
How do we know this?
20x cannot be the greatest common DIVISOR of 35x and 20y, because 20x isn't even a DIVISOR of 35x
Notice that 35x/20x = 35/20 = 7/4
This tells us that 20x cannot be a DIVISOR of 35x, which means 20x cannot be the GCD of 35x and 20y.

Answer: C

Cheers,
Brent

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