# Measuring the Metric Way

The German-speaking countries, like all of Europe, use the metric system exclusively. When you go into a store in Germany, you can't ask for a quart of milk or two yards of yellow ribbon. You need to know *Liter* and *Meter.*

The metric system is really quite efficient, because it's based on numbers that are easily multiplied and divided (1, 10, 100, 1,000):

*ein Kilometer*(1 kilometer) equals*eintausend Meter*(1,000 meters)*ein Meter*(1 meter) equals*einhundert Zentimeter*(100 centimeters)*ein Meter*(1 meter) equals*eintausend Millimeter*(1,000 millimeters)

Using metrics you can measure distance, length, weight, temperature, and volume.

## Distance and Length

In the United States, we judge long distances in miles. The metric equivalent is *Kilometer,* which equals a thousand meters. Shorter distances are measured by yards, feet, and inches in English. In the metric system, shorter lengths are measured by *Meter, Zentimeter,* and *Millimeter. Ein Kilometer* is about 0.6 miles. To know how far *sechs Kilometer* is, multiply 6 times 0.6. That's 3.6 miles. These metric lengths are usually abbreviated to *km,* m, cm, and mm.

## Weight

We measure weight by pounds and ounces. Incredibly, we have sixteen ounces in one pound. In the metric system, weight measurements are calculated in easy multiples: *ein Kilogramm* (1 kilogram) equals *eintausend Gramm* (1,000 grams).

The German word *Pfund* means pound, but it's not the pound we know in the United States. *Ein Pfund* is *fünfhundert Gramm* (500 grams) or half a *Kilogramm. Kilogramm* is abbreviated as *kg, Gramm* as *g.* German speakers often just say *Kilo* instead of *Kilogramm: Ich möchte ein Kilo Tomaten, bitte.* (I'd like a kilogram of tomatoes, please.) *Ein Kilo* is about 2.2 pounds. So if you want to know how many pounds *drei Kilo* are, multiply 3 times 2.2. That's 6.6 pounds.

## Temperature

We use the Fahrenheit thermometer to measure temperature: 212°F is the boiling point of water, and 32°F is its freezing point. The metric system (Celsius) once again works in simpler multiples. *Einhundert Grad* (100 degrees) is the boiling point of water, and *null Grad* (0 degrees) is the freezing point.

To convert temperatures from Celsius to Fahrenheit, multiply the metric temperature by 9/5 and add 32. To find the temperature in Fahrenheit of *zweiundzwanzig Grad* Celsius (22°C), multiply 22 by 9/5. Then add 32. That tells you that it's 71.6°F.

## Volume

We measure liquids in the United States by pints, quarts, and gallons. In the metric system, liquids are measured by *Liter* and *Milliliter.* If you want to know how many fluid ounces *vierzig Milliliter* (40 milliliters) are, multiply forty times 0.034. That comes to 1.36 fluid ounces. To know how many quarts are in *zehn Liter* (10 liters), multiply ten times 1.06. That's 10.6 quarts. To find pints, multiply the number of liters by 2.1. To find gallons, multiply the number of liters by 0.26.