1. ## Unequal forces

Unequal forces are forces that are not equal and opposite.
Is it true? Because unequal forces could be equal but not opposite or vice versa or both.
(I'm not asking this as a physic question but as a grammar question)

2. ## Re: Unequal forces

As a grammar question, there is nothing in the word "unequal" that says anything about "opposite" or "not opposite."

It simply means they were not equal.

3. ## Re: Unequal forces

I know. But the grammar structure should be "not equal or opposite", right?

4. ## Re: Unequal forces

I'm sorry, I'm not understanding what you're asking.

5. ## Re: Unequal forces

Originally Posted by belly_ttt
Unequal forces are forces that are not equal and opposite.
Is it true? Because unequal forces could be equal but not opposite or vice versa or both.
(I'm not asking this as a physic question but as a grammar question)
I don’t think you can solve the grammatical problem without knowing that in physics, a force has both magnitude and direction.
So, two men pushing a car from the back may be pushing with same force if they are equally strong. But if one pushes from the back, and the other from the front, the forces (being opposite) are unequal, even though the magnitude is the same.

Hence, “unequal forces” can be either i) same direction, different magnitude ii) same magnitude, different direction or iii) different magnitude and direction. From this, unequal forces are forces that are unequal (in magnitude) or opposite (or, indeed, in any direction different from each other).

"Unequal forces are forces that are not equal and opposite."
This is bad and ambiguous sentence.
Here's a good one to replace it.
"Unequal forces are forces that are not of equal magnitude or not in the same direction."

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