LM wrote:
A committee of 3 people is to be chosen from four married couples. What is the number of different committees that can be chosen if two people who are married to each other cannot both serve on the committee?
A. 16
B. 24
C. 26
D. 30
E. 32
Take the task of selecting the 3 committee members and
break it into stages. Stage 1: Select the 3 couples from which we will select 1 spouse each.
There are 4 couples, and we must select 3 of them. Since the order in which we select the 3 couples does not matter, we can use COMBINATIONS
We can select 3 couples from 4 couples in 4C3 ways (
4 ways)
Stage 2: Take one of the 3 selected couples and choose 1 person to be on the committee.
There are 2 people in the couple, so this stage can be accomplished in
2 ways.
Stage 3: Take one of the 3 selected couples and choose 1 person to be on the committee.
There are 2 people in the couple, so this stage can be accomplished in
2 ways.
Stage 4: Take one of the 3 selected couples and choose 1 person to be on the committee.
There are 2 people in the couple, so this stage can be accomplished in
2 ways.
By the Fundamental Counting Principle (FCP) we can complete all 4 stages (and thus create a 3-person committee) in
(4)(2)(2)(2) ways (= 32 ways)
Answer = E
Note: the FCP can be used to solve the MAJORITY of counting questions on the GMAT. So, be sure to learn it.
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