Which of the following CANNOT be the least common multiple of two positive integers x and y?

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Which of the following CANNOT be the least common multiple of two positive integers x and y?

(A) xy
(B) x
(C) y
(D) x - y
(E) x + y


OA D

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BTGmoderatorDC wrote:
Sat Nov 26, 2022 6:51 pm
Which of the following CANNOT be the least common multiple of two positive integers x and y?

(A) xy
(B) x
(C) y
(D) x - y
(E) x + y


OA D

Source: GMAT Prep
\

Since the difference of x - y is less than x, the quantity x - y can’t be a multiple of x. Thus, it can’t be the least common multiple (LCM) of x and y.

(Note: We think the correct answer is intended to be D for the reason stated above, but choice E is also correct since x + y can’t be the LCM of x and y, either. We can prove this by contradiction:

Let’s suppose that x + y is the LCM of x and y. We see that x and y can’t be equal, otherwise either x or y (not their sum) will be the LCM of x and y. Now let’s say that x < y. Since we suppose that x + y is the LCM of x and y, y, the larger of the two numbers, can’t be the LCM of x and y. But the LCM of x and y must be the a multiple of y, so it has to be at least 2y (if it can’t be y). Here is the contradiction: 2y > x + y since y > x. So it’s impossible to have x + y as the LCM of x and y.)

Answer: D

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