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Gas vs. Liquid: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 16, 2023
Gas is a state of matter with no fixed shape or volume, while liquid has a fixed volume but no fixed shape, conforming to its container.

Key Differences

Gases are composed of particles that are far apart and move freely, resulting in no fixed shape or volume. Liquids have particles that are closer together than gases but still move freely, allowing them to take the shape of their container while maintaining a fixed volume.
In a gas, the particles have high kinetic energy, which leads to expansion and filling any space available. Liquid particles, while still active, have less kinetic energy compared to gases, causing them to remain more compact and giving the liquid a definite volume.
Gases can be compressed easily due to the large spaces between their particles, whereas liquids are nearly incompressible because of the limited space between particles.
The interaction between particles in a gas is minimal, which is why gases can mix easily and uniformly. In liquids, the stronger intermolecular forces result in a definite volume and surface tension.
Changes in temperature and pressure have a significant effect on gases, easily altering their volume. Liquids are relatively less responsive to temperature and pressure changes, maintaining their volume but changing in density.

Comparison Chart

Particle Arrangement

Particles far apart, high movement
Particles closer, less movement than gas

Shape and Volume

No fixed shape or volume
Fixed volume, takes shape of container


Easily compressed
Nearly incompressible

Intermolecular Forces

Minimal interaction between particles
Stronger forces, definite volume

Response to Temperature/Pressure

Highly responsive
Less responsive, more stable volume

Gas and Liquid Definitions


A state of matter with no fixed shape that will fill any container uniformly.
Helium gas is used to fill balloons.


A substance that flows freely but is of constant volume.
The liquid in the thermometer rose with the temperature.


A substance in a form that does not resist change of shape and will expand indefinitely.
Oxygen gas is essential for breathing.


A nearly incompressible fluid that conforms to the shape of its container.
Water is the most commonly consumed liquid.


A fluid substance that expands freely to fill any space available.
Natural gas is a key energy source for heating.


A state of matter between solid and gas, characterized by fluidity.
Mercury is a metal that exists in liquid form at room temperature.


A vapor-like substance that can affect the sense of smell.
The gas leak was detected by its odor.


A phase of matter where atoms or molecules are loosely connected and can move freely.
The liquid form of hydrogen is used as a rocket fuel.


A substance that is in the gaseous state at room temperature.
Carbon dioxide gas is released during combustion.


A fluid that is not gas and has the capacity to flow.
Oil is a type of liquid used in cooking.


The state of matter distinguished from the solid and liquid states by relatively low density and viscosity, relatively great expansion and contraction with changes in pressure and temperature, the ability to diffuse readily, and the spontaneous tendency to become distributed uniformly throughout any container.


The state of matter in which a substance exhibits a characteristic readiness to flow and little or no tendency to disperse, and is amorphous but has a fixed volume and is difficult to compress.


A substance in the gaseous state.


Matter or a specific body of matter in this state.


How is liquid defined?

A liquid is a state of matter with a fixed volume but no fixed shape, taking the shape of its container.

Do gases have a definite volume?

No, gases do not have a definite volume; they expand to fill their container.

Are liquids compressible?

Liquids are nearly incompressible because the particles are closer together.

How do liquids respond to temperature changes?

Liquids are less responsive to temperature changes compared to gases, with minimal volume change.

Can gases flow like liquids?

Yes, gases can flow and spread out uniformly in a container, similar to liquids.

What is a gas?

A gas is a state of matter with particles that move freely, having no fixed shape or volume.

Can gases be compressed?

Yes, gases can be compressed due to the large spaces between their particles.

Do liquids have a definite shape?

No, liquids do not have a definite shape; they take the shape of their container.

Why do gases mix easily?

Gases mix easily due to the high mobility of their particles and minimal intermolecular forces.

Are liquids affected by gravity?

Yes, liquids are affected by gravity, which influences their flow and level in a container.

Can the state of matter change from gas to liquid?

Yes, through condensation, a gas can change into a liquid.

Is humidity related to gas?

Yes, humidity refers to the amount of water vapor, a gas, in the air.

Why do gases expand?

Gases expand due to the high kinetic energy of particles, allowing them to move freely and fill any space.

How do gases respond to temperature changes?

Gases are highly responsive to temperature changes, significantly affecting their volume.

Why do liquids have surface tension?

Liquids have surface tension due to stronger intermolecular forces compared to gases.

Can gases dissolve in liquids?

Yes, gases can dissolve in liquids, like carbon dioxide in water.

What are examples of gases?

Examples of gases include oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.

Can a liquid change into a gas?

Yes, a liquid can change into a gas through evaporation or boiling.

Is the volume of a liquid constant?

The volume of a liquid is generally constant, though it can slightly change with temperature and pressure.

What are examples of liquids?

Examples of liquids include water, oil, and alcohol.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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