How does a vector quantity differ from a scalar quantity?

1 Answer
Jun 10, 2014

A scalar quantity describes strictly only the magnitude, or amount, of something. It is represented by a numerical value only and gives no other information.

A vector quantity, on the other hand, describes both the magnitude and direction of something.

When trying to differentiate between scalar and vector quantities, one must keep their definitions in mind. Is the amount given just a numerical value, or does it include a direction as well?

Some examples of scalar quantities are energy, time, volume, temperature, and speed. All of these quantities simply have a magnitude, and if not associated with a specific direction, are scalar quantities

Some vector quantities include displacement, force, and velocity (which is not to be confused with speed! 5 m/s is a speed. 5m/s East is a velocity). All these quantities are associated with both a magnitude and a certain direction.