It is customary to say that energy exists in different forms which are transformed or converted into one another during physical processes. However, a careful analysis shows that thinking in and speaking of energy forms is inappropriate and conceptually even misleading. Since most textbooks use the term ‘‘energy form’’ without spelling out a clear procedure by which different ‘‘forms’’ of energy can be categorized, rigorous criteria for categorizing flowing and stored energy are discussed in this paper. These criteria show that the term ‘‘energy form’’ for the respective categories is unsatisfactory because it easily leads to the misinterpretation that there are different kinds of energy, rather than emphasizing the simpler and physically more correct picture of energy as an unalterable substance. Taking into account the well‐known but little recognized natural law that energy always flows simultaneously with at least one other physical quantity, the concept of energy carrier is introduced. This concept provides a clear picture of how energy is transported, exchanged, and stored. This picture is scientifically accurate, yet simple and easy to present even at an elementary level.