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Distance and Displacement

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Distance: The distance covered by an object is described as the total path length covered by an object between two endpoints.

Distance is a numerical quantity. We do not mention the direction in which an object is travelling while mentioning about the distance covered by that object.

Displacement: The shortest possible distance between the initial and final position of an object is called Displacement. Displacement is denoted by Δx.

Zero Displacement: When the first and last positions of an object are same, the displacement is zero.

Negative Displacement and Positive Displacement:

Here, displacement of object B is negative

ΔB = Bf − B0

= 7–12

= –5

A negative sign indicates opposite direction here.

Also, displacement of object A is positive

ΔA = Af − A0

= 7– 0

= 7




It is the actual path length travelled by an object.

It is the shortest distance between initial point and final point.

It is a scalar quantity.

It is a vector quantity,.

It is always positive and cant be zero.

It can be positive, negative or zero

Vectors and Scalar Quantities:

  • Vector is a quantity which have both magnitude and direction. For examples: Force, position etc.
  • Scalar is quantity with which direction is not associated. For examples: Mass, temperature, time etc.



  • Distance
  • Displacement
  • Distinction between Distance and Displacement
If you would like to contribute notes or other learning material, please submit them using the button below. | Motion part 3 (Scalar and vector quantity)

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Motion part 3 (Scalar and vector quantity) [00:04:41]
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