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# I'm five foot twenty-five centimetres tall

I'm curious as to what sort of units you use to measure various things, especially since I've heard that some people will use a mixture of metric and non-metric units depending on the object (one example given was measuring distances in miles but speeds in kilometres per hour, or measuring short distances in inches and feet but longer ones in metres and kilometres).

Edit to add: I'm also interested in how you'd measure the diagonal of (a) a television set and (b) a computer monitor. (For example, in Germany (a) is usually in cm while (b) is usually in inches.)

Poll #270715 Metric or non-metric

Where do you come from, or what region most influenced your choice of units?

USA
15(25.9%)
5(8.6%)
UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
31(53.4%)
Republic of Ireland
0(0.0%)
continental Europe
5(8.6%)
elsewhere
2(3.4%)

If "elsewhere", please given an indication: (or to be more precise even if you selected an option above)

I typically measure the energy content of a meal in

calories (cal)
17(30.9%)
kilocalories (kcal)
4(7.3%)
kilocalories (but I call them "calories")
23(41.8%)
kilojoules (kJ)
2(3.6%)
Broteinheiten (BE)
0(0.0%)
Weight Watchers® POINTS®
3(5.5%)
other (please comment on this entry)
6(10.9%)

I typically measure the power of a car's engine in

kilowatts (kW)
7(12.5%)
horsepower (HP/PS/CV)
38(67.9%)
other
11(19.6%)

I would measure the strength of an earthquake

in terms of energy (e.g. in kJ)
0(0.0%)
58(100.0%)
other
0(0.0%)

I would measure the energy of a bomb explosion in

joules (J, kJ, MJ, etc. as appropriate)
5(9.3%)
tons (kilotons, megatons, etc. as appropriate) of TNT
41(75.9%)
other
8(14.8%)

I would measure the energy of an atomic or subatomic particle in

electronvolts (eV, keV, MeV, GeV, etc. as appropriate)
20(35.7%)
joules (aJ, fJ, pJ, etc. as appropriate)
12(21.4%)
other (including "I don't usually measure this sort of thing")
24(42.9%)

A room or bath thermometer will usually use

39(67.2%)
degrees Fahrenheit (°F)
18(31.0%)
degrees Réaumur (°R)
0(0.0%)
Kelvin (K)
0(0.0%)
other
1(1.7%)

A fever thermometer will usually use

31(53.4%)
degrees Fahrenheit (°F)
26(44.8%)
degrees Réaumur (°R)
0(0.0%)
Kelvin (K)
0(0.0%)
other
1(1.7%)

I expect to hear the temperature of the weather in

38(66.7%)
degrees Fahrenheit (°F)
18(31.6%)
degrees Réaumur (°R)
0(0.0%)
Kelvin (K)
0(0.0%)
other
1(1.8%)

When I bake, I usually set the oven in

21(36.2%)
degrees Fahrenheit (°F)
21(36.2%)
degrees Réaumur (°R)
0(0.0%)
Kelvin (K)
0(0.0%)
gas mark
14(24.1%)
other
2(3.4%)

I would measure a person's height in

centimetres (cm), e.g. 180 cm
5(8.6%)
metres (m), e.g. 1.80 m
4(6.9%)
inches (in, "), e.g. 71 in or 71"
0(0.0%)
feet (ft, '), e.g. 5.9 ft
3(5.2%)
feet and inches, e.g. 5'11"
45(77.6%)
other
1(1.7%)

I would measure an adult's weight in

grammes/grams (g), e.g. 88000 g
0(0.0%)
kilograms (kg), e.g. 88 kg
10(17.2%)
pounds (lb), e.g. 194 lb
19(32.8%)
stone + pounds, e.g. 13 st 12 lb
28(48.3%)
hundredweight (cwt) + pounds, e.g. 1.9 cwt or 1 cwt 94 lb
0(0.0%)
other
1(1.7%)

I would measure a newborn's or baby's weigh in

grams (g), e.g. 4700 g
4(6.9%)
kilograms (kg), e.g. 4.7 kg
3(5.2%)
ounces (oz), e.g. 166 oz
1(1.7%)
pounds (lb), e.g. 10.4 lb
5(8.6%)
pounds and ounces, e.g. 10 lb 6 oz
41(70.7%)
"metric pounds" of 500 g each, e.g. 9½ pounds
0(0.0%)
other
4(6.9%)

I would measure the speed of a car in

metres per second (m/s)
1(1.8%)
kilometres per hour (km/h)
13(22.8%)
miles per hour (mph)
43(75.4%)
knots (nautical miles per hour)
0(0.0%)
furlongs per fortnight
0(0.0%)
other
0(0.0%)

I would measure the speed of a boat in

metres per second (m/s)
0(0.0%)
kilometres per hour (km/h)
6(10.7%)
miles per hour (mph)
8(14.3%)
knots (nautical miles per hour)
39(69.6%)
furlongs per fortnight
0(0.0%)
other
3(5.4%)

I would measure wind speed in

metres per second (m/s)
2(3.6%)
kilometres per hour (km/h)
9(16.1%)
miles per hour (mph)
24(42.9%)
knots (nautical miles per hour)
5(8.9%)
furlongs per fortnight
0(0.0%)
14(25.0%)
other
2(3.6%)

I would measure long distances (e.g. between cities) in

metres (m)
0(0.0%)
kilometres (km)
15(25.9%)
(statute) miles (mi)
43(74.1%)
nautical miles
0(0.0%)
leagues
0(0.0%)
other
0(0.0%)

I would measure medium distances (e.g. the length of a gymnastics track) in

metres (m)
39(67.2%)
kilometres (km)
2(3.4%)
feet (ft)
3(5.2%)
yards (yd)
13(22.4%)
fathoms
0(0.0%)
miles (mi)
0(0.0%)
other
1(1.7%)

I would measure short distances (roughly the length of a normal ruler) in

metres (m)
1(1.7%)
centimetres (cm)
27(46.6%)
millimetres (mm)
6(10.3%)
feet (ft)
3(5.2%)
inches + decimals (e.g. 11.75 in)
6(10.3%)
inches + fractions (e.g. 11¾ in)
14(24.1%)
other
1(1.7%)

I would measure undersea distances (e.g. the depth of an ocean trench) in

metres (m)
8(14.3%)
kilometres (km)
8(14.3%)
leagues
5(8.9%)
feet (ft)
7(12.5%)
yards (yd)
0(0.0%)
fathoms
10(17.9%)
miles (mi)
7(12.5%)
nautical miles
2(3.6%)
other
9(16.1%)

grams (g)
6(10.5%)
dekagrams (dag)
1(1.8%)
kilograms (kg)
15(26.3%)
pounds (lb)
26(45.6%)
"metric pounds" of 500 g each
4(7.0%)
other
5(8.8%)

I would measure air pressure (weather) in

pascal (Pa)
3(5.9%)
hectopascal (hPa)
1(2.0%)
bar (bar)
4(7.8%)
millibar (mbar)
14(27.5%)
pounds per square inch (psi)
7(13.7%)
atmospheres (atm)
3(5.9%)
millimetres of mercury (mmHg)
2(3.9%)
millimetres of water (mmH2O)
0(0.0%)
Torr
0(0.0%)
inches of mercury (in Hg)
2(3.9%)
inches of water (in H2O)
0(0.0%)
other
15(29.4%)

I would measure a car's tyre pressure in

pascal (Pa)
0(0.0%)
hectopascal (hPa)
1(1.9%)
bar (bar)
2(3.8%)
millibar (mbar)
1(1.9%)
pounds per square inch (psi)
31(59.6%)
atmospheres (atm)
2(3.8%)
atmospheres excess pressure (atü)
0(0.0%)
millimetres of mercury (mmHg)
0(0.0%)
millimetres of water (mmH2O)
0(0.0%)
Torr
0(0.0%)
inches of mercury (in Hg)
0(0.0%)
inches of water (in H2O)
0(0.0%)
other
15(28.8%)

I would buy petrol (gasoline) in

litres (l)
32(56.1%)
gallons (gal)
22(38.6%)
cubic feet (cu.ft.)
0(0.0%)
cubic inches (cu.in.)
0(0.0%)
quarts (qt)
0(0.0%)
pints (pt)
0(0.0%)
other
3(5.3%)

I would measure a car's fuel consumption in

litres per 100 km
12(21.4%)
miles per gallon (mpg)
42(75.0%)
square inches
0(0.0%)
other
2(3.6%)

When baking, I usually measure milk in

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
0(0.0%)
millilitres (ml)
10(17.5%)
centilitres (cl)
0(0.0%)
decilitres (dl)
2(3.5%)
litres (l)
6(10.5%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
9(15.8%)
pints (pt.)
12(21.1%)
quarts (qt.)
0(0.0%)
cups
14(24.6%)
other
4(7.0%)

When baking, I usually measure butter in

grams (g)
15(25.9%)
kilograms (g)
0(0.0%)
ounzes (oz)
17(29.3%)
pounds (lb)
1(1.7%)
cups
6(10.3%)
sticks
7(12.1%)
tablespoons
8(13.8%)
teaspoons
1(1.7%)
other
3(5.2%)

When baking, I usually measure sugar in

grams (g)
17(29.3%)
kilograms (g)
0(0.0%)
ounzes (oz)
12(20.7%)
pounds (lb)
3(5.2%)
cups
20(34.5%)
tablespoons
1(1.7%)
teaspoons
3(5.2%)
other
2(3.4%)

When baking, I usually measure flour in

grams (g)
17(29.8%)
kilograms (g)
0(0.0%)
ounzes (oz)
11(19.3%)
pounds (lb)
5(8.8%)
cups
20(35.1%)
tablespoons
1(1.8%)
teaspoons
1(1.8%)
other
2(3.5%)

When baking, I usually measure baking powder in

milligrams (mg)
1(1.8%)
grams (g)
9(15.8%)
ounzes (oz)
3(5.3%)
cups
4(7.0%)
tablespoons
3(5.3%)
teaspoons
34(59.6%)
packets
1(1.8%)
other
2(3.5%)

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
0(0.0%)
millilitres (ml)
2(3.4%)
centilitres (cl)
0(0.0%)
decilitres (dl)
1(1.7%)
litres (l)
15(25.9%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
0(0.0%)
pints (pt.)
25(43.1%)
quarts (qt.)
5(8.6%)
gallons (gal.)
9(15.5%)
cups
0(0.0%)
other
1(1.7%)

The volume of soft drink cans is usually measured in

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
2(3.5%)
millilitres (ml)
31(54.4%)
centilitres (cl)
4(7.0%)
decilitres (dl)
1(1.8%)
litres (l)
4(7.0%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
12(21.1%)
pints (pt.)
0(0.0%)
quarts (qt.)
0(0.0%)
cups
0(0.0%)
other
3(5.3%)

A "full-size" coke bottle usually has its volume measured in

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
0(0.0%)
millilitres (ml)
3(5.2%)
centilitres (cl)
3(5.2%)
decilitres (dl)
1(1.7%)
litres (l)
41(70.7%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
6(10.3%)
pints (pt.)
0(0.0%)
quarts (qt.)
0(0.0%)
gallons (gal.)
0(0.0%)
cups
0(0.0%)
other
4(6.9%)

Beer on tap is usually bought in

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
0(0.0%)
millilitres (ml)
0(0.0%)
centilitres (cl)
0(0.0%)
decilitres (dl)
1(1.8%)
litres (l)
2(3.6%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
3(5.5%)
pints (pt.)
42(76.4%)
quarts (qt.)
0(0.0%)
millilitres, but they're really pints (multiples of 473 ml)
2(3.6%)
other
5(9.1%)

Liquor "portions" in a bar are usually measured in

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
0(0.0%)
millilitres (ml)
9(16.1%)
centilitres (cl)
4(7.1%)
decilitres (dl)
1(1.8%)
litres (l)
0(0.0%)
jiggers
0(0.0%)
shots
33(58.9%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
2(3.6%)
pints (pt.)
1(1.8%)
quarts (qt.)
0(0.0%)
other
6(10.7%)

Liquor is usually bought in bottles whose volume is measured in

cubic centimetres (cc, cu.cm, cm³)
0(0.0%)
millilitres (ml)
12(21.8%)
centilitres (cl)
10(18.2%)
decilitres (dl)
0(0.0%)
litres (l)
17(30.9%)
fluid ounces (fl.oz.)
9(16.4%)
pints (pt.)
0(0.0%)
quarts (qt.)
0(0.0%)
fifths
3(5.5%)
other
4(7.3%)

The strength of alcoholic drinks is measures in

percent alcohol by volume
36(63.2%)
percent alcohol by weight
0(0.0%)
proof
18(31.6%)
other
3(5.3%)

I'd measure the weight of a parcel containing a couple of books in

grams (g)
15(26.3%)
kilograms (g)
25(43.9%)
ounzes (oz)
4(7.0%)
pounds (lb)
13(22.8%)
other
0(0.0%)

My water bill measures the volume of water I've used in

litres (l)
5(10.0%)
kilolitres (kl)
2(4.0%)
megalitres (Ml)
0(0.0%)
cubic metres (m³)
11(22.0%)
gallons (gal)
9(18.0%)
cubic feet (cu.ft.)
1(2.0%)
other
22(44.0%)

My electricity bill uses

joules (J)
1(2.0%)
kilojoules (kJ)
2(4.0%)
megajoules (MJ)
0(0.0%)
kilowatt hours (kWh)
31(62.0%)
megawatt hours (MWh)
1(2.0%)
British Thermal Units (btu)
0(0.0%)
therms
0(0.0%)
other
15(30.0%)

The size of paper I'd use for photocopying or printing is

A4
37(63.8%)
A3
0(0.0%)
B4
0(0.0%)
B5
0(0.0%)
letter (8½" × 11")
21(36.2%)
legal (8½" × 14")
0(0.0%)
other
0(0.0%)

Paper weight is usually measured in

grams per square meter (g/m²)
28(51.9%)
"pounds" (e.g. 20-pound bond paper)
17(31.5%)
other
9(16.7%)

I would measure the size of a plot of land for a house in

square metres (m²)
19(32.8%)
square kilometres (km²)
1(1.7%)
ares
1(1.7%)
hectares
4(6.9%)
acres
24(41.4%)
square miles
1(1.7%)
other
8(13.8%)

I would measure the size of a farm in

square metres (m²)
2(3.5%)
square kilometres (km²)
3(5.3%)
ares
2(3.5%)
hectares
13(22.8%)
acres
34(59.6%)
square miles
0(0.0%)
other
3(5.3%)

I would measure the size of a country in

square metres (m²)
1(1.8%)
square kilometres (km²)
21(36.8%)
ares
0(0.0%)
hectares
0(0.0%)
acres
0(0.0%)
square miles
34(59.6%)
other
1(1.8%)

I would measure the strengh of a spectacle lens in

diopters
27(50.0%)
numbers out of 20 (e.g. 10/20)
16(29.6%)
other
11(20.4%)

I would measure the strengh of a contact lens in

diopters
27(51.9%)
numbers out of 20 (e.g. 10/20)
12(23.1%)
other
13(25.0%)
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