Metric System

The metric system of measurement is based on powers of ten. To understand the metric system, you should know the meaning of the prefixes to each base unit.

Prefixes

kilo = thousand

hecto = hundred

deka = ten

deci = tenth

centi = hundredth

milli = thousandth

Now, applying these prefixes to length, volume, and mass should be easier.

Length—meter

1 kilometer (km) = 1,000 meters (m)

1 hectometer (hm) = 100 meters

1 dekameter (dkm) = 10 meters

10 decimeters (dm) = 1 meter

100 centimeters (cm) = 1 meter

1,000 millimeters (mm) = 1 meter

Volume—liter

1,000 milliliters (ml, or mL) = 1 liter (l, or L)

1,000 liters = 1 kiloliter (kl, or kL)

Mass—gram

1,000 milligrams (mg) = 1 gram (g)

1,000 grams = 1 kilogram (kg)

1,000 kilograms = 1 metric ton (t)

Approximations

A meter is a little more than a yard.

A kilometer is about 0.6 mile.

A kilogram is about 2.2 pounds.

A liter is slightly more than a quart.