By Cathleen Shamieh

The term electricity is ambiguous, often contradictory, and can lead to confusion, even among scientists and teachers. Generally speaking, electricity has to do with how certain types of particles in nature interact with each other when in close proximity.

Rather than rely on the term electricity as you explore the field of electronics, you’re better off using other, more precise, terminology to describe all things electric. Here are some of them:

  • Electric charge: A fundamental property of certain particles that describes how they interact with each other. There are two types of electric charges: positive and negative. Particles of the same type (positive-positive or negative-negative) repel each other, and particles of the opposite type (positive-negative) attract each other.

  • Electrical energy: A form of energy caused by the behavior of electrically charged particles. This is what you pay your electric company to supply.

  • Electric current: The movement, or flow, of electrically charged particles. This connotation of electricity is probably the one with which you are most familiar.