Americans and the Metric System

Because that is the correct spelling in the USA.

Not quite correct, German speaking countries as Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein spell km as “Kilometer”.
So “ignorant Americans” are not the only ones spelling it wrong? Just different, so what?


Tig was referring to the English speaking world, the majority of whom spell it the British way, spelling it differently in another language is something else.

And just to be clear he also didn’t use the phrase ignorant americans.

As someone who was born and raised in Switzerland I only can support this!
After immigration to this great country 11 years ago I was sometimes really amused how many people are fighting with conversions from one unit to the other.
“Do I have to divide or multiply?” is a question I heard too many times :slightly_smiling_face:
Sometimes I make fun with enthusiastic “foot/inchers” by asking them to solve this problem:
The amount of water in a flooded area is estimated to be 0.75 acre-foot. How many times do you have to fill a tanker truck with a load capacity of 10 tons in order to remove all the water from the flooded area?
What do you suggest? :smiley: :smiley:

At my age my brain can’t even go there :slight_smile:

1 Like

Lots of colour in this thread!

True but colour isn’t the centre of it all.

1 Like

We need to get to the towne centre for a quick litre of bier!


Who’s going to drive? We can’t drive back after a litre of beer.

1 Like

There is a fine word: Schismogenesis. The imperial system of measurement is a relatively benign manifestation of it. The key is that it is maintained just because people in the U.S. want to be different from the rest of the world, and this is one of the ways. The world is full of these kinds of group customs, some much more pernicious.

1 Like

There’s a famous quote of Gunther Beckstein (conservative bavarian politician) that said you can easily drive after two “Maß” (1 litre) of beer. But I’d guess that’s a bit of a bavarian/german thing, seeing that beer is considered a so called basic food (Grundnahrungsmittel) here. :grin: :beer:

1 Like

Scandinavia also spells it kilometer, liter etc. I think UK is the odd one out here.

1 Like


From French kilomètre ,

1 Like

Even some respectable establishments in Sweden serves proper pints!

Personally I miss the mess of exchanging currency when travelling abroad. I always found it exciting adn part of the feeling of being somewhere else. The Euro have ruined some of the charm of travelling i Europe. Luckily we still cling to the Krona in Sweden so there is some measure of fuss to travel! :slight_smile:

When I am asked to defend my use of the metric system I always ask which is easier, divide 1’ 7 3/4" by 3 or 222mm (you can forget the decimal unless you are working to <0.01mm tolerance) by 3?
Even if the answer is not exact, you can round up or down (unless you can cut to such tolerances)

I don’t know about Aaron, but I use a calculator for that. :grinning:

Oops! … dead battery

1 Like

Interesting that it’s theater and not theatre in the US, but it isn’t theaterical.

The …er v. …re was really invented by Webster in an attempt to separate US spelling from the UK.
There is no logic either way - the English took words like centre from the french, but center is probably nearer the earlier Latin root.
Certainly the US’s …or v. …our words are much nearer the original Latin - in GB Johnson’s dictionary anglicized french spellings, so coleur became colour, in the US Webster took the Latin root color/colorem so the US have ‘color’ - this is also seen in many words, like honor, labor, neighbor etc, when the English always use an unneeded extra U…
If you really want to spell words like they sound [today] it’d be ‘culler’ or something anyway - so no one is ‘right’… AND over the years the way you’d say them would change anyway…

1 Like