Distance and Displacement

We all love to go to school

And while going there, we cover finite path from house to school.

This path that you cover, between your school and your house is called as distance.

Thus we can say that distance is the total covered path.

No matter in what direction you go, distance simply get added

Thus it is a scalar quantity

Scalars are the quantities which have a magnitude but no direction

Magnitude refers to a mathematical value.

Direction can be East(E), West(W), North(N), South(S).

Or we can say positive, negative based upon a reference point.

When direction is added to a scalar quantity it becomes a vector

So, vector quantities are those which have a magnitude as well as a direction

Vector quantities add up in the same direction and subtracted in the opposite direction.

For example as above, The boy starts from B to C he covered a distance of +10m. Here "+" is positive direction, 10 is magnitude. "m" is meter

Now he travels back to C to B in reverse direction, so we take -10m.

Here "-" is opposite direction sign. 10 is magnitude, m is meter.

Again from B, he travels to A so distance covered from B to A is -10m.

Here we are taking positive, negative based upon a reference point.

Hence total path covered is B to C ( +10m) + C to B (-10m)+ B to A (-10m) +10-10-10= -10m

This whole path covered by boy is called displacement.

Displacement is a path covered by any object in a given direction, and it is a vector quantity.

That is why vectors can either be positive or negative, depending upon the direction.

One such example of vector quantities is displacement

Displacement is considered as the smallest covered path of a body.

To measure displacement we find the shortest distance between starting and ending point.

Displacement can either be positive, negative or zero, as it is dependent on the direction.

So, if you go to your school and come back home, your net displacement is zero.

Both the distance and displacement are a measure of length, thus there SI unit is metres.


Distance is total path travelled by a body.

Displacement is shortest covered path.

Displacement being a vector, can be positive, negative or zero.

S.I Unit of both distance and displacement is meter (m)

The End.