# Table for signs of position, displacement, and velocity

## Homework Equations

Velocity = Displacment/Time

## The Attempt at a Solution

Ok, so I thought this was straightforward at first, but I'm having my doubts. The position column, I filled out with the standard assumption the right and up are positive and left and down are negative. For displacement, I was a bit confused as to what it was asking, so I figured each situation started at a point and wanted the displacement for that point. By that logic I got the signs for displacement which happened to be the same as the signs of position. Finally for velocity, I first thought it was based on whether the object was speeding up or slowing down. But, I thought that shouldn't really matter for the sign of velocity, but for whether it is increasing or decreasing, which the question doesn't care about. I know velocity = displacement/time, and since time is always positive, the sign of velocity should be dependent on displacement. So I put the same signs from displacement into velocity.

PS, I don't have any background in physics, this is my summer assignment to which they gave no background and no textbook -.-
The fact that all the signs ended up the same still makes me worried that I am doing/did something wrong.

Finally for velocity, I first thought it was based on whether the object was speeding up or slowing down.

That is acceleration!

The sign of velocity indicates its DIRECTION

Last edited:
mrshashy
So the increasing/decreasing stuff was just a red herring. Thanks for your confirmation :)

well I think it is!

If a car is going forward at 100 mph one moment, and going forward at 50mph the next moment ; then its velocity is still positive (it is going forward!)

however, it is (de)accelerating.

for interest, note that if a car is turning a corner, its velocity IS changing because its direction is changing. your 'ball' is going in a straight line.

SammyS
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Gold Member

## Homework Equations

Velocity = Displacment/Time

## The Attempt at a Solution

Ok, so I thought this was straightforward at first, but I'm having my doubts. The position column, I filled out with the standard assumption the right and up are positive and left and down are negative. For displacement, I was a bit confused as to what it was asking, so I figured each situation started at a point and wanted the displacement for that point. By that logic I got the signs for displacement which happened to be the same as the signs of position. Finally for velocity, I first thought it was based on whether the object was speeding up or slowing down. But, I thought that shouldn't really matter for the sign of velocity, but for whether it is increasing or decreasing, which the question doesn't care about. I know velocity = displacement/time, and since time is always positive, the sign of velocity should be dependent on displacement. So I put the same signs from displacement into velocity.

PS, I don't have any background in physics, this is my summer assignment to which they gave no background and no textbook -.-
The fact that all the signs ended up the same still makes me worried that I am doing/did something wrong.
It seems that none of these specify a position.

Should there perhaps be another column labeled acceleration. The situations described fairly beg for that.

It seems that none of these specify a position.

Should there perhaps be another column labeled acceleration. The situations described fairly beg for that.

yes, that was my first thought, then I edited the post.

The questions seem to be red herrings - they specifically mention acceleration, but do not give the option. Its almost trying to trick the student, and there should be no trick questions!

SammyS
Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Gold Member
yes, that was my first thought, then I edited the post.

The questions seem to be red herrings - they specifically mention acceleration, but do not give the option. Its almost trying to trick the student, and there should be no trick questions!
... but has the student provided an image which includes the complete table?

That is the complete table. No acceleration column.

haruspex