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If we touch the live wire and ground at the same time, we will get a shock. But the current goes from live to ground and not to neutral i.e, circuit is open. Then how can we get a shock?

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This is the same circuit: will the current flow?
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I think current should not flow. So, what is the reason that we still get shocks when the circuit is open?

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Copying from the electronics.SE

Since in properly constructed power network the neutral wire is maintained at a potential level close to ground potential, there is nearly no voltage between the neutral and the ground. Hence, touching neutral will not cause current to flow through human body into ground.

So by construction there is very little potential between the ground and the neutral. When a human touches the live wire he closes the circuit with the ground instead of the neutral because there is by construction so little difference between neutral and live.

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  • $\begingroup$ But the electrons have to flow back to neutral, how will they go back? $\endgroup$ – Kartik Jun 30 '14 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ Through the earth. The earth itself is a big sink . You can think of the neutral as the "ground" at the factory. The electrons will balance through the earth to the factory $\endgroup$ – anna v Jun 30 '14 at 15:40
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    $\begingroup$ Doe it mean that the neutral is physically connected to the earth at the power station? $\endgroup$ – Kartik Jun 30 '14 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, often the neutral or ground line is physically connected to large rods that are planted into the ground $\endgroup$ – Jim Jun 30 '14 at 15:48
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    $\begingroup$ The neutral and ground wires are connected at the main panel. The ground wire is also connected to a good ground. In my house, the ground is the copper cold water line, with a jumper around the water meter... $\endgroup$ – DJohnM Jun 30 '14 at 16:55

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