What's the difference between distance and displacement

Distance is a scalar, meaning it only has a magnitude. Displacement is a vector, meaning that it has both magnitude and direction. For instance, distance can state that I am "x" metres away from a point, displacement would state that I am "x" metres away in a "y" direction. If you travel away from a point then return, you have travelled a non zero distance, but your displacement is zero as you have returned to your original position. 

Emma  G. GCSE Physics tutor, A Level Physics tutor, GCSE Maths tutor,...

1 year ago

Answered by Emma , a GCSE Physics tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


£18 /hr

Ayokansola A.

Degree: Civil and Structural Engineering with a Year in Industry (Masters) - Sheffield University

Subjects offered:Physics, Spanish+ 4 more


“About Me: Hello! I am a Civil Engineering student at the University of Sheffield. I have always had a natural incline towards all things Maths and Science, so without a doubt, my genuine passion for the subjects’ I am offering will be...”

£18 /hr

Elliot D.

Degree: Mathematics (Bachelors) - St. Andrews University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths


“Hi, I'm a 2nd year Computer Science student at St Andrews University. I mainly teach Maths at both GCSE and A-level.”

£24 /hr

Daniel R.

Degree: Mathematics (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 1 more

Further Mathematics

“About me I’m a first year student studying Maths with European Studies at Durham. I have recently taken my A levels, achieving A* in Maths and Further Maths, so I am familiar with the course content and what the examiners are looking ...”

About the author

£18 /hr

Emma G.

Degree: Physics (Masters) - Durham University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 1 more


“I'm a third year Physics student at Durham University. I've always loves science and maths but I know a lot of people can find it intimidating. I'm here to help! I am used to explaining science and concepts to people of all ages, work...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other GCSE Physics questions

How to calculate temperature of expanded ideal gas.

Whats the difference between speed and velocity?

How do stars like ours form and die?

On a see-saw Mary, weight 600N balances John, weight 200N when she sits 1.5m away from the pivot. How far from the pivot is John?

View GCSE Physics tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss