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# A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten

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BSchool Forum Moderator
Joined: 29 Jan 2015
Posts: 1472
Location: India
WE: General Management (Consumer Products)
A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten  [#permalink]

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24 May 2017, 02:17
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Difficulty:

65% (hard)

Question Stats:

50% (01:57) correct 50% (02:01) wrong based on 54 sessions

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A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten houses that need care on a given day. How many different ways can the company assign the five employees to work at the different houses on that day if each employee works at two houses?

(A) 50
(B) 2!/1!
(C) 120
(D) 10!/5!
(E) 10!
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Joined: 12 Sep 2015
Posts: 4214
Re: A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten  [#permalink]

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24 May 2017, 05:33
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Top Contributor
rohan2345 wrote:
A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten houses that need care on a given day. How many different ways can the company assign the five employees to work at the different houses on that day if each employee works at two houses?

(A) 50
(B) 2!/1!
(C) 120
(D) 10!/5!
(E) 10!

Nice question!

Take the task of assigning two houses to each employee and break it into stages.

Stage 1: Select 2 houses for employee #1
Since the order in which we select the two houses does not matter, we can use combinations.
We can select 2 houses from 10 houses 10C2 ways [= (10)(9)/(2) ways]
So, we can complete stage 1 in (10)(9)/(2) ways

NOTE: Given the answer choices, I'm not going to evaluate (10)(9)/(2). You'll see why shortly.

Stage 2: Select 2 houses for employee #2
There are 8 houses left to choose from.
So we can complete stage 2 in 8C2 ways (= (8)(7)/(2) ways)

Stage 3: Select 2 houses for employee #3
There are 6 houses left to choose from.
We can complete stage 3 in 6C2 ways (= (6)(5)/(2) ways)

Stage 4: Select 2 houses for employee #4
We can complete stage 4 in 4C2 ways (= (4)(3)/(2) ways)

Stage 5: Select 2 houses for employee #5
We can complete stage 5 in 2C2 ways (= (2)(1)/(2) ways)

By the Fundamental Counting Principle (FCP), we can complete all 5 stages (and thus assign all 10 houses to 5 employees) in [(10)(9)/(2)][(8)(7)/(2)][(6)(5)/(2)][(4)(3)/(2)][(2)(1)/(2)] ways
Evaluate to get: 10!/(2^5)

I Googled the question and found out that it's a question from GMAT For Dummies. They say the answer is D, but give no rationale, other than to plug 10 and 5 into the permutations formula. However, this calculation would be for a scenario in which each worker works at ONLY ONE house (not 2, as in the question)

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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Re: A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2018, 16:51
rohan2345 wrote:
A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten houses that need care on a given day. How many different ways can the company assign the five employees to work at the different houses on that day if each employee works at two houses?

(A) 50
(B) 2!/1!
(C) 120
(D) 10!/5!
(E) 10!

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the first employee = 10C2. (Any 2 of the 10 houses.)

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the second employee = 8C2. (Any 2 of the 8 remaining houses.)

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the third employee = 6C2. (Any 2 of the 6 remaining houses.)

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the fourth employee = 4C2. (Any 2 of the 4 remaining houses.)

Number of ways the houses that could be assigned to the fifth employee = 2C2. (Any 2 of the 2 remaining houses.)

So the total number of ways is

10C2 x 8C2 x 6C2 x 4C2 x 2C2

(10 x 9)/2! x (8 x 7)/2! x (6 x 5)/2! x (4 x 3)/2! x (2 x 1)/2!

10!/(2!)^5

10!/2^5

10!/32

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Re: A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten  [#permalink]

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07 Apr 2019, 12:00
Hi Jeff,

Why are we not slecting the employee as well? I thought the answer should have been 5! . 10! / 2^5

For the first employee, we have 10C2 ways of selecting the houses, but we have 5C1 ways of selecting the employee as well right?

If we go on using the same logic.. we would land up with 5C1 . 10C2 x 4C1 . 8C2 x 3C1 . 6C2 x 2C1 . 4C2 x 1C1 . 2C2 = 5! . 10! / 2^5

Would appreciate any help here..

Thanks
Kartik

JeffTargetTestPrep wrote:
rohan2345 wrote:
A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten houses that need care on a given day. How many different ways can the company assign the five employees to work at the different houses on that day if each employee works at two houses?

(A) 50
(B) 2!/1!
(C) 120
(D) 10!/5!
(E) 10!

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the first employee = 10C2. (Any 2 of the 10 houses.)

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the second employee = 8C2. (Any 2 of the 8 remaining houses.)

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the third employee = 6C2. (Any 2 of the 6 remaining houses.)

Number of ways the houses could be assigned to the fourth employee = 4C2. (Any 2 of the 4 remaining houses.)

Number of ways the houses that could be assigned to the fifth employee = 2C2. (Any 2 of the 2 remaining houses.)

So the total number of ways is

10C2 x 8C2 x 6C2 x 4C2 x 2C2

(10 x 9)/2! x (8 x 7)/2! x (6 x 5)/2! x (4 x 3)/2! x (2 x 1)/2!

10!/(2!)^5

10!/2^5

10!/32

Re: A lawn care company has five employees, and there are ten   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2019, 12:00
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