Question
In the formula $F=-kx$, what does the minus sign indicate?
1. It indicates that the restoring force is in the direction of the displacement.
2. It indicates that the restoring force is in the direction opposite the displacement.
3. It indicates that mechanical energy in the system decreases when a system undergoes oscillation.
4. None of the above

(b)

Solution Video

# OpenStax College Physics Solution, Chapter 16, Problem 3 (Test Prep for AP® Courses) (0:33)

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Video Transcript
This is College Physics Answers with Shaun Dychko. In this formula for the force due to a spring, we have a negative sign in front of the spring constant times by the amount by which the spring has been stretched or its displacement from equilibrium. Now the negative sign means that the force will be directed in the opposite direction to the displacement. That's answer B, the restoring force is in the direction opposite to the displacement.