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W or mg for weight?

  1. W

    2 vote(s)
  2. mg

    18 vote(s)
  1. Jun 18, 2008 #1
    When working out problems in mechanics by drawing free body diagrams and so on, I personally find it better to write mg rather than W (weight) because I confuse it with work.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 18, 2008 #2


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    I prefer mg as well.

  4. Jun 18, 2008 #3
    Mg definitely, I find it easier to spot cancellations.
  5. Jun 18, 2008 #4
    This seems like an odd question to me because W = mg is a definition of W so I don't see why people would choose one over the other. To me is like asking whether I like A or LW for the area of a square with sides L and W. Since A = LW how can you choose what you prefer?

    Good question in fact. What do you prefer in the equation A = LW. Do you prefer A or do you prefer LW?

  6. Jun 18, 2008 #5


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    Seconded … same reason. :smile:
  7. Jun 18, 2008 #6


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    If i'm given weight I use W and if I'm given mass I use mg. It doesn't really matter, they're the same thing.
  8. Jun 18, 2008 #7


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    I use both depending on whether I'm given weight, or mass, like Kurdt. On the other hand, I usually substitute in mg for w whenever I can so, I have to vote for mg.
  9. Jun 18, 2008 #8


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    I write [tex]\vec W[/tex], which won't be confused with work.
  10. Jun 18, 2008 #9
    I never use any letter than capital F to stand for a force, so I write:


    Or sometimes


    to help the students.
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