# Confusion about Forces and newtons

I have been struggling with the concept of the newton for a while, possibly stemming from an inaccurate understanding of force as well.

From what I have been taught and what I found online, a force is generally a push or pull. I also looked up the definition of the newton and it's generally quoted as

One newton is the force needed to accelerate one kilogram of mass at the rate of one meter per second squared in direction of the applied force.

This definition is really confusing. Over what period of time does this 1 newton of force need to be applied?

I guess my question could in essence be, what would happen if you applied an instantaneous tap of 1N to a box (because this is a push right), and what would happen if this was a continuous tap over 1 sec, 2 sec etc (this is also a push but longer no?).

• Realistically the time doesn't matter for the acceleration as the object will only have acceleration when it is subject to the force in question, if there is no force there is no acceleration. Time would be important if you wanted to know about velocity/displacement/etc – Triatticus Mar 17 '18 at 2:05