fameatop wrote:

Lindsay can paint 1/x of a certain room in 20 minutes. What fraction of the same room can Joseph paint in 20 minutes if the two of them can paint the room in an hour, working together at their respective rates?

A. \(\frac{1}{3x}\)

B. \(\frac{3x}{(x – 3)}\)

C. \(\frac{(x – 3)}{3x}\)

D. \(\frac{x}{(x – 3)}\)

E. \(\frac{(x – 3)}{x}\)

We are given that Lindsay can paint 1/x of a room in 20 minutes; thus, she can paint 3/x of a room in 60 minutes (or in 1 hour). Thus, her hourly rate is 3/x room/hr. We are also given that when she works with Joseph, they can paint the entire room in 1 hour. If we let total work = 1 and j = the number of hours it takes Joseph to paint the room by himself, then Joseph’s rate = 1/j room/hr. We can create the following equation and isolate j:

work of Lindsay + work of Joseph = 1

(3/x)(1) + (1/j)(1) = 1

3/x + 1/j = 1

Multiplying the entire equation by xj, we obtain:

3j + x = xj

x = xj - 3j

x = j(x - 3)

x/(x - 3) = j

Since j = x/(x - 3) and 1/j = Joseph’s rate, then Joseph’s rate, in terms of x, is (x - 3)/x.

Since 20 minutes = 1/3 of an hour, and since work = rate x time, Joseph can complete:

[(x - 3)/x](1/3) = (x - 3)/(3x) of the job in 20 minutes.

Alternate Solution:

Since Lindsay and Joseph, working together, can paint the whole room in 1 hour, then in 20 minutes, they can paint 1/3 of the room. If we let r be the fraction of the room that Joseph can paint in 20 minutes, then it must be true that:

1/x + r = 1/3

r = 1/3 - 1/x

Using a common denominator of (3x), we obtain:

r = (x - 3)/(3x)

Answer: C

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