# Independent Variable Vs. Dependent Variable: A Precise Comparison

The comparison between independent and dependent variables, presented in this article, is aimed at clearing out the differences between these two types. Keep reading ahead to know how these variables are different from each other.

Omkar Phatak

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2018

*Variable*'. In your first mathematics courses, the focus will be on learning basic arithmetic and its applicability in everyday life. To set up an equation to solve word problems, you need to understand what dependent and independent variables are. The comparison presented in the following lines, will help you understand how these two concepts build an equation.

What is a Variable?

In a mathematical equation, a variable is any quantity whose value may change with time, or any other parameter. An equation is generally a relation between variables. In mathematics and statistics, these variables are generally identified with alphabets. Consider the equation:

*z = x + y*
Difference Between an Independent and Dependent Variable

Definition

In the context of a mathematical equation, an independent variable is the quantity on which, rest of the variable values depend. The change in a system, which is being modeled by a mathematical equation, manifests itself through the independent variable, which in turn, affects the changes that happen in the rest of the system. It is the 'prime mover' which impacts the overall behavior of the system. For example, consider the second of Newton's laws of motion taught in physics, which is represented by the equation:

*F = ma*
Examples

Now that we have defined independent and dependent variables, here I present some real life examples, which will help you understand the difference between the two, in a better way.