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United States of America (USA) - Units of Measurement


The US relies upon imperial measurement, but certain units, common elsewhere, are not used. For example, almost no one in America knows how many pounds are equal to “one stone,” although in Britain this is not an uncommon measurement. However, most teenage and adult Americans have some familiarity with the metric system. In fact, all US citizens who have a university education in the empirical sciences will have extensive practical experience with this system as it is uniformly used in universities in America.

A good web site that provides general conversions from imperial to metric (and vice versa) can be found at www.metric-conversions.org/measurement-conversions.htm. Here you can find temperature, measurement, area, volume, and weight conversions.


Temperature

Socially, on the radio, and in television broadcasts temperatures are given in Fahrenheit; however, a large part of the population will be familiar with Celsius/Centigrade scales.

Clothing sizes

Clothing sizes vary by brand and are subdivided into three basic categories. There are men's sizes, women's sizes, and children's sizes. Due to the ethnic diversity in America, stores offer a very wide selection of sizes but may lean more towards large than small. A good clothing size conversion chart (which gives US, UK, European, and Japanese sizes) can be found at www.usatourist.com/english/tips/Womens-Sizes.html (links to the left provide men's and children's size conversions as well).


Time, day, date conventions

In the USA, the time is given in terms of 12 (rather than 24) hours. When written it is hour:minute:second, with a colon between each section. To designate the time as between the first moment of the calendar date and the halfway point through the date, we mark the time with the letters “a.m.” (e.g. 6:12 a.m., meaning 12 minutes after 6 o'clock in the morning). From halfway through the calendar day, called noon, through to the end of the day, the designation “p.m.” is used. Capitalization and periods between the letters (e.g., AM, A.M., a.m.) is optional. The numerical short-hand date format in the USA is written as mm/dd/yy, whereas in the UK it is written as dd/mm/yy (i.e., 5th August 2006 would be written as 08/05/06, but if this is read from a UK perspective it would be 8th May 2006)! However, some federal and governmental forms require the more internationally standard dd/mm/yy.


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