Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Work and Energy

Work vs Energy

Physics is not a subject most of us are comfortable with. As a subject during high school and as a subject during college, we often scratch our heads and wonder why we should study this subject. From computing the distance up to measuring velocity, we often wonder if we can use this as ordinary citizens of the world. If riding in a car while computing the acceleration will help us get ahead, even the unsurprising traffic is in sight.

Two of these words are “work” and “energy.” In laymen’s terms, work and energy can be differentiated easily. But in physics, these two words do not come easy as it is. It is a broad concept in which a lot of explanations can be derived.

In physics, work is the transferring of an energy’s amount via a force through a distance via the direction of the force. The word “work” was first coined by Gaspard Coriolis. He is a French mathematician. He coined this word during 1826. The SI unit of physics is joules.

Energy, on the other hand, came from the Greek word “energeia” meaning “activity or operation.” It was used in one of Aristotle’s works in as early as the 4th century BC. Work is said to be the ability of someone or something to engage or do work. On the other hand, energy is defined as the force which acts in a certain distance. Energy is all defined as the ability to push or pull by exertion in a certain path or distance. Energy is also measured in joules.

Energy and work are said to be scalar units. “Scalar” means it does not have any direction. It is not tangible as well. We cannot see it nor feel it. We usually use energy in describing how different things behave on their own. Examples of energy are nuclear energy, solar energy, electrical energy, and a lot more. In energy, there are two types that are frequently used such as kinetic energy and potential energy. Kinetic energy is when the object is moving. Potential energy is when the object is resting. To see the applications and differences in energy, let us use this example:

A man found a coin along the concrete road of Manhattan. The coin is in resting potential or potential energy. When the man picked up the coin, he took it and applied force just to pick up the coin. In that manner, WORK was done. Work was done because force was applied to the object.

How about when a woman holds her purse without moving. Is that work? No, it isn’t. For work to occur, there must be force and movement from one place to another. Driving the car is not work because we are just sitting. But running from one point to another and applying force is work.

Work and energy are being used by physicists to compute and derive other quantities. This can be used in research laboratories for people to apply them in extensive research such as sports science.


1.Energy is the ability to produce or create work. Work, on the other hand, is the ability to provide force and a change in distance to an object.
2.There are many types of energy such as solar energy, etc., but there is only one type of work.
3.Energy was coined since 4 BC while work was only used in 1826.
4.Both work and energy are scalar units.
5.Both work and energy are measured in joules.

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1 Comment

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