Units of Measure – Caps, Plurals, Periods

It is important to use the correct case, i.e., upper case (capital letters) and lower case (small letters), in your units of measure.

G = giga–, whereas g = gram
K = kelvin, whereas k = kilo–
M = mega–, whereas m = milli–
N = newton, whereas n = nano–
T = tera–, whereas t = tonne (metric ton)

When spelling out units of measure, plurals are formed in the usual way.
Examples:  grams, meters, seconds, etc.
Exceptions:  lux, hertz, and Siemens
These are the same in both singular and plural, like deer and sheep.

What about fractions? Values less than one take the singular form.
Examples:  ½ kilogram, 0.75 kilometer

Unit symbols (abbreviations), however, do not take an S at the end to make them plural.
1 m, 5 m
1 lb, 2 lb (not lbs, which is a common mistake)

The only situations when a period is used after a unit symbol are:
1) at the end of a sentence   Example: The pipe had a diameter of 36 cm.
2) after the unit abbreviation for inch, so it is not confused with the preposition “in”.
Example: The 36-in. pipe will be delivered next Tuesday.

Profound Quote of the Day:
“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.”
– Winston Churchill, English statesman, 1874-1965


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