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While I was searching about simple harmonic motion, Wikipedia defined it as,

"In mechanics and physics, simple harmonic motion (sometimes abbreviated SHM) is a special type of periodic motion of a body resulting from a dynamic equilibrium between an inertial force, proportional to the acceleration of the body away from the static equilibrium position and a restoring force on the moving object that is directly proportional to the magnitude of the object's displacement and acts towards the object's equilibrium position."

However, I don't understand why a fictitious force is necessary. Our physics textbooks don't really talk about inertial forces (while defining simple harmonic motion) so I was wondering what the page would have meant when they said "a dynamic equilibrium between restoring force and inertial force". Could someone explain?

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  • $\begingroup$ I am not keen on the definition given by Wikipedia as one can define shm in kinematics with the acceleration proportional to the displacement from a fixed point and always directed towards the fixed point. $\endgroup$
    – Farcher
    Jun 11, 2023 at 6:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't see the word "fictitious" in the quote you provided. Why are you using that language and which force do you think is "fictitious"? $\endgroup$
    – hft
    Jun 12, 2023 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ @hft "Inertial force" is another name for (or a type of) "fictitious force." $\endgroup$
    – Mark H
    Jun 13, 2023 at 7:38

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This is not a good description of simple harmonic motion. I can't understand why the concept of inertial force is in the first paragraph of this article when it isn't mentioned anywhere else. Cutting out the dynamical equilibrium part results in a much more comprehensible definition:

In mechanics and physics, simple harmonic motion (sometimes abbreviated SHM) is a special type of periodic motion of a body resulting from a restoring force on a moving object that is directly proportional to the magnitude of the object's displacement and acts towards the object's equilibrium position.

The edit adding the fictitious force wording was only added in November 2022. I have edited the introduction to remove the mention of fictitious forces.

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