Newton's Laws


Is there a simple way to remember each of Newton's laws?

2 years ago


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Bartholome Gleason

20 Answers

Andrea C Profile Picture
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Pencil Case, Full Metal Alchemist, Punch

This is the way I usually teach it to my students.

Newton's First Law: an object will continue with the same velocity unless a resultant force is applied to it

If a pencil case is on the table, unless you apply a force, the pencil case does not move.

If a pencil case is being thrown across the room, unless you apply a force, it will continue in its movement

Newton's Second Law: a resultant force acting on an object will produce an acceleration (F = ma)

Full Metal Alchemist, enough said, the famous anime

Newton's Third Law: to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

If you punch a wall, the wall punches you back, that is why it hurts to punch a wall

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Daniel P Profile Picture
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Hi Bartholome!

Indeed, there are ways to help you remember these laws, and more importantly, what they meant and their importance of them rather than just the enunciates. This all varies from person to person, so a way to remember these laws might be the ideal way for someone but maybe not for you, so you'll have to think of ways you like to remember things such as deduction by asking yourself questions, rhyme association, object association, etc.

The first law, known as the law of inertia, in very simple terms, states that an object will continue its straight path at constant speed or maintain its state of rest (or in a state of equilibrium) UNLESS an external force applies to the object. You can try to remember this law by asking yourself "why do things move at all?", obviously you will come up with the answer: "because something might be pushing or pulling that object". This is everything this law is about, it is just trying to explain why objects move once you apply force on them.

The second law is usually represented by one simple equation: F = ma. But usually, most people ignore the rationale behind this equation. What it is saying is actually just the second part or continuation of the first law, it states that the force exerted on a body is proportional in direction and magnitude to the rate of change (time rate) of the momentum of the body. Momentum is a vector quantity which is equal to mass times velocity. So in simple words, when the body is pushed, for example, it will change its direction and velocity according to the direction and magnitude that the force was exerted with. You can remember this by asking yourself: "why the object moves in that direction after I push it?", the answer will be: "because you pushed it that way", so it's easy to remember now that you know what this law is all about!

Finally, the third law is probably the easiest to remember. It just states that for every action there's an equal and opposite reaction. You can apply the rhyme association I was talking about at the beginning of this post. You can ask yourself: "why the book can stay on top of the table but if you put a motorcycle on top of the table it will probably break?" If an object exerts a force on another object, the first body will experience the reaction of the second body which will be equal to the force exerted by the first one but in opposite direction. For example, a book resting on a table is pushing the table in a downward direction due to the book has a mass and the acceleration of gravity will make the book exert a force on the table, because of this, the table will also be pushing the book upwards effectively allowing the book to be sustained easily on top of the surface of the table, the book will be in equilibrium because obviously the weight it exerts on the table is very easily counteracted by the table, you will need a heavier object than the table to make the balance of forces tip your way and "break" the table, its reaction force will simply not be enough!

Hopefully, this explanation will let you remember the laws easily, or at least be useful for you to understand a bit more about what they are about.

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Amanda P Profile Picture
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Hi Bartholome! When I was first introduced to Newton's Laws, I also struggled to remember them.

For me, the first law is basically common sense - a body will stay at rest or in constant motion until a resultant force acts on it - i.e. the current state the object is in won't change until we apply a force on it, which makes sense from our own intuitive understanding of the world.

The second law builds on the first, it tells you the relationship between the force applied and how the object's motion will change (it will accelerate). F = ma

The way I remembered the third law was a simplified statement that summed up the ideas quite generally - if A exerts a force on B, B exerts an equal but opposite force on A.

Hope that helps!

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David O Profile Picture
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1st law: Recall the keywords: Object...same...speed and direction...unless...resultant force... You should be able to fill in the rest to make a full statement

2nd law: Recall the equation F =ma. This equation is basically the law

Acceleration directly proportional to force

Acceleration inversely proportional to mass

3rd law: Recall 4 words; Action, Opposite, Equal, Reaction. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction

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Aayan Iqbal

Yes. Newtons laws can be easily visualized and hence remembered. That's the beautiful thing about physics.

Firstly, lets go over the three laws.

Newtons First Law (Law of Inertia): First law states that, a body will stay in its state of motion (or rest) unless acted upon by an external force.

Now an easy way to remember this is by visualizing it. Imagine Cristiano Ronaldo wants to take a freekick. He places the ball on the spot, and he just stares at it. He doesnt do anything else. He doesnt kick it. He doesnt touch it. He just leaves it there and stares at it. Will it move? Nope. BAM! Newtons first law.

Newtons Second Law (F=ma): Newtons second law coverts the first law into an equation. Its physics, everything in Physics has an equation. Everything. The force acting on an object is equal to its mass multiplied by its acceleration, or inversely, the acceleration of an object is force acting on acting on the object divided by the objects mass.

Newtons Third Law: This is my favorite law and its super easy to remember because it doesnt just apply in Physics, but also real life. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

If you hit someone in real life, you are going to get hit back. Equal and opposite reaction.

A jet engine sucks in air and blasts it out through the exhaust. This causes the airplane to move in the opposite direction of the exhausted air. Equal and opposite reaction.

Hope this helped!

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There are 3 laws, in the first law, an object will not change its motion unless a force acts on it. (ex: A bin on the floor stays on the floor until you apply force on it).

In the second law, the force on an object is equal to its mass times its acceleration.

In the third law, when two objects interact, they apply forces to each other of equal magnitude and opposite direction. (Annoying your cat, it will annoy you back in the same way you annoyed it)

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Gareth G Profile Picture
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Definitely there is, it depends how basically or extensively you want to remember the laws.

For me , i break them down simply and then apply each law to a specific situation or possibly in your case, to an exam question.

Newtons first law, An object will remain stationary or at a constant velocity, unless acted upon by something externally.

Newtons second law, is literally, Force = Mass x Acceleration. Here, mass and acceleration are directly proportional (related) to each other.

Newtons third law states that, for every action (force) there is an equal and opposite reaction force. (e.g. you standing on the floor and applying a force downwards, means you get an equal force coming back upwards, from the floor).

Hope this helps!

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Akinyemi R

yes, using keywords for example,

the first law is the law of inertia

the second law deals with change of momentum of a body

the third law is the simplest , it deals with force exerted on two bodies interacting

Besides, the second and the third law can be expressed mathematically before writing them in words

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Newton's first law says- anything will continue to remain in state of rest ( imagine any object not moving) or continue to remain in a uniform motion ( imagine an asteroid travelling in space in a straight line) , unless acted upon by an external force ( now imagine pushing that object that was not moving or another asteroid smashing into the first one we imagined).

When this happens the objects lose their inertia ( this is the tendency of the object to remain in a state of rest or uniform motion).

The second law- The rate of change of Linear Momentum of a body is directly proportional to the external force applied on the body, and this change takes place always in the direction of the applied force. in other words F=ma force = mass X acceleration

This means , when a force acts on an object it will try to move the object in the direction of the force applied. If you pull something towards you the object will move towards you. The greater the force the greater the acceleration ( in the direction of the force). so we say the force is directly proportional to acceleration.

Acceleration is inversely proportional to the mass. Example- pushing a market trolley and pushing a car. easy to push the trolley as its mass is less compared to the car. the trolley will accelerate more than the car.

The third law says- every action has an equal and opposite reaction- example- push a wall and it will push you back. push it harder and you will bounce off further back ! the force that is opposing your push is equal and opposite to the force you are using to start with.

Hope this helps

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Neil A Profile Picture
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Physics and Science for those who don't get it or hate it !

It's less about remembering them and more about understanding them.

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Sandeep Yadav

Here's a simple way to remember Newton's three laws:

First Law (Law of Inertia): "An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an external force."

Remember: Things like to keep doing what they're doing unless something makes them stop or change direction.

Second Law (F=ma): "The acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting upon it and inversely proportional to its mass."

Remember: Force equals mass times acceleration. The bigger the force or the smaller the mass, the faster an object accelerates.

Third Law (Action-Reaction): "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Remember: When you push on something, it pushes back on you with the same force in the opposite direction.

Himanshu Singh

As there are 3 laws

1. Law of inertia= A body remain in motion or rest unless an external force act on it .

2. Second law of motion=force is multiple of mass and acceleration , F=m.a

3. third law of motion= every action has equal and opposite reaction

Anand Vijaykumar Yarlagadda

First Law: Kick a donkey it will move ahead (Law of inertia)

Second Law: Donkey is kicked again and screams ( force applied equal to mass acceleration)

Third Law: Donkey is kicked again this time donkey kicks back(For every Law there equal opposite reaction )

Nishit Bhavsar

"An object at rest wants to rest, an object in motion wants to keep going."

Adefuye Adetayo Olugbenga

Newton's first law of motion showcased force acting on a body at rest.

The Newton's Second law showcased the rate of change of momentum of a body which is directly proportional to the applied force.

The Newton's third law showcased Actions and reactions which are equal and opposite

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