variable resistor vs. voltage divider

I have noticed that the only difference between a potentiometer wired as a variable resistor, and a potentiometer wired as a voltage divider, is that one terminal is either left unconnected or is connected to ground. But what is the actual difference in the wiper (output) signal between a variable resistor and a voltage divider? is it just that a variable resistor will never reach 0V, or is there more to it? thanks!

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Daniel O'Shea
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