English Measurement Units

Measurement units are commonly used to define the weight, length, height, speed and time scales. When you go shopping for clothes and food or weigh your body mass at the gym, you Make use of meauserement units. You can use standardized English metrics even to describe how fast your car is. Therefore, it is necessary for English learners to understand how these metrics are pronounced in the target language. You are usually familiar with the most of those standard metrics as the abbreviated forms are similar in many European languages as well as Turkish. In this article, you will find how to pronounce SI Metrics Units in English. In the last section, you can check how Imperial System of Units varies from the SI Metric System.

International System of Units (SI)

The International System of Units, shortened as SI, derived from its French version of Système International (d’unités). It has the modern forms of quantity measures with seven base units:

1- A second defines time and is symbolized by ¨s¨.  2- A metre defines length with the symbol of ¨m¨.   3- A kilogram defines mass with the symbol of ¨kg¨.   4- An ampere defines the flow of electric current and has the symbol of ¨capital A¨. 5- Kelvin defines thermodynamic temperature and has the symbol of ¨capital K¨. 6- Mole defines the amount of substance and  has the abbreviation of ¨mol¨. 7- Candela defines luminous intensity in a given direction with the short form ¨cd¨. There are certainly other variations of each base unit. For English learners however, the former three are the most important ones as you directly use them during your everyday practices.

International Metric Units in Standard Forms

International metric system table leads you how to define units of length, mass, capacity, area and volume. In this section, you will see how these categories put smaller and larger units in order.

Units of Length:

One kilometre is the greatest unit and one millimetre is the smallest unit of length. As greater units, 1 kilometre equals to 1000 metres while 1 hectometre equals to 100 metre-length. Other two confusing words for English students are decametre and decimetre: 1 decametre equals to 10 metres whereas 1 decimetre equals to 0.1 metre. So, smaller units go on with a centimetre and a millimetre. As you estimate, 1 centimetre equals to 0.01 metre or just 10 millimetres.

Units of Mass:

Among the standardized English metrics, gram and kilogram are very familiar units for Turks. In English, their spellings and pronunciations are almost the same as in Turkish. Considering metrics, a kilogram refers to the largest mass as opposed to a gram which equals to 0.001 kilogram. In other words, a kilogram is 10 hectograms, 100 decagrams and 1000 grams. On the contrary, one gram equals to 10 decigrams, 100 centigrams and 1000 milligrams. You can see that milligrams define the amount of tablets and medicine. Similarly, the units measuring the multiplication of grams, metres and litres are common as they are Latin terms of digits. There are also other units to describe multiplied versions of kilograms. For instance, one tonne or a metric ton is the same as 1000 kilograms in amount. Quintal metric is 100 kilograms and in maritime business and shipping, people make use of both terms.

Units of Capacity:

We use litre and its other variations for defining the capacity of liquid and fluid substances. Like in previous units, you can observe the highest capacity is a kilolitre being 1000 litres. Compared to a litre, a hectolitre and decalitre follow kilolitre as being ten times of each other. A litre equals to 10 decilitres, 100 centilitres and 1000 millitres respectively.

Units of Land Area:

The units of area as well use land measurements. Area units are generally measured in square metres and square kilometres. An area of one square metre means the surface of a plain area has two dimensions with one metre in width and one metre in length. In other words, an area of a decametre equals to 100 square metres (m2) whereas a square decametre mentions an area of 10.000 square metres. 1.000.000 square metres mean that surface area is the measure of a square kilometre. Square decimetre, centimetre and millimetre are respectively smaller units.

In addition to those units, the land area in geographical terms may have other measurement alternatives. If you want to describe that you own a house with a relatively small garden, then you can say ¨it is one acre¨. To define the area of an agricultural field or the woods, people usually say ¨the forest is 10 hectares large¨. Theoretically, a hectare equals to 10.000 m2 and one are equals to 100 m2. In that sense, a centiare is just 1 m2.

Units of Volume:

You can describe the volume occupied by a substance in a three-dimensional box or machine by the help of some units. Considering volume, a cubic kilometre is the largest form in comparison to a cubic millilitre, the smallest form. Mathematically, a cubic kilometre equals to cubic metres. Certainly, a cubic metre equals to 1.000.000 cubic millimetres. To simplify in meaning, you can either say ¨the storage has a capacity of one cubic metre (m3) of water¨ or ¨it comprises one ton of water¨. Remember that one ton is one kilolitre in standard terms.

Imperial Units of Measurement

After a lot of calculations, you see that English measurement units are all based on international metric standards accepted all over the Europe, including Turkey, Asian countries and the majority of American countries. Besides those, you sometimes need to handle different terms like ounce, gallon or mile. These are some of the most widely used Imperial Measurement Units United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and partially United States use.

Regarding imperial metrics, people use foot, inch, yard and mile. An inch equals to 1/12 in length and is nearly 2.5 cm and a foot is 30.48 cm. long. In that metrical system, a yard is 36 inches whereas a foot is 12 inches. Mile is another alternative for a kilometre, but you should remember that a nautical mile is different. It equals to 1852 metres and internationally used in maritime issues. In aviation industry, people choose feet to define the height.

Concerning volume and capacity, pepole use gallon, barrel and hogshead widely in the United States and Britain. However one gallon in British terms equals to 4.54 litres while an American gallon is 3.58 litres, smaller in portion. By using barrel you can measure petroleum and larger amounts of alcohol beverages.

People use libre / pound and ounce for weight. One pound is equal to 16 ounces in UK terms. In the international metrics, a pound is 453.592 grams. You should also know the short forms of these two units. Pound is lb. and ounce is oz. in written contexts.

As you see, English measurement units have various categories with British, American and European distinctions. In order to comprehend where and how you can use these units more effectively, you can take the guidance of experienced teachers in English Ninjas.


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