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The region around a charged body within which it can exert its electrostatic influence may be called an electric field. In principle, it extends to infinity, but in practice it falls off more or less rapidly with distance. We can define the intensity or strength $$E$$ of an electric field as follows. Suppose that we place a small test charge $$Q$$ in an electric field. This charge will then experience a force. The ratio of the force to the charge is called the intensity of the electric field, or, more usually, simply the electric field. Thus I have used the words “electric field” to mean either the region of space around a charged body, or, quantitatively, to mean its intensity. Usually it is clear from the context which is meant, but, if you wish, you may elect to use the longer phrase “intensity of the electric field” if you want to remove all doubt. The field and the force are in the same direction, and the electric field is a vector quantity, so the definition of the electric field can be written as
$\textbf{F} = Q\textbf{E} \tag{1.6.1} \label{1.6.1}$