What is the difference between Distance and Displacement? - ProProfs Discuss
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What is the difference between Distance and Displacement?

Asked by R. Barnes, Last updated: Feb 21, 2020

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4 Answers

N. Reyes

A good writer and orator as well.

N. Reyes, Writer, B.ed, California

Answered Oct 22, 2019

Distance is often referred to as a type of scalar quantity. This can help determine the amount of ground that an object was able to travel. Displacement, on the other hand, is a term that is used to determine how far an object is from where it came from or when it is being compared to another object.

Take note that for distance, there are usually two points. The first point will refer to where the object came from while the second point will show the amount of ground covered by the object in the current time. Displacement will refer to the space between the two points. These terms may seem similar in the beginning but will be more different when you understand them more.


H. Jones

H. Jones, Web Content Writer, San Antonio,

Answered Sep 11, 2019

Distance and displacement are far from being the same as they have many notable differences. Distance is defined as the amount of space between two points, usually geographical points. Distance is a scalar quantity. It is the shortest distance between the starting and ending point. Distance never decrease over time. It is calculated as Speed Time. The values of distance are always positive.

Distance is denoted with the letter “d.” Displacement is defined as a length between two points with directional components. It refers to the shortest distance between two points. Displacement is a vector quantity. As time goes by, displacement decreases. Displacement can either be positive, negative, or zero. The formula for displacement is Velocity Time. Displacement is also denoted with the letter “s.” I hope you find this information helpful.


J. Pollock

J. Pollock, Science Professor, Los Angeles

Answered Sep 04, 2019

Distance refers to the distance that is being covered by a certain object or how far the object has gone. For example, a person may walk from point A to point B. The area that the person has traversed will show the distance between point A to point B. Displacement will refer to how far the object is from one place to another.

This can also refer to the change of the object’s position that may occur depending on what the object is doing. There are also other factors that may affect the object’s displacement. These two terms are normally used in physics but are not often understood immediately by students.


Bobby Rickets

Bobby Rickets, Content Reviewer

Answered Sep 03, 2019

If you have always studied physics, you will have no issues with determining the difference between distance and displacement. Distance will refer to how much a body has traveled when the body is in motion. Displacement will allow you to know how far the collection is from the starting point, going to the direction where it needs to go. Another difference between the two is people are not usually familiar with their difference.

Even those who already know their meanings will still find the two hard to understand. Another way that you can differentiate which is through the values that they use. Distance uses positive values, while displacement will use positive, negative, or zero.


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