# Poll: What units of measurement do you think in?

Thread title’s pretty clear, I think. Here’s the specific questions:

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?
2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
3c. If not, why?

1. Male, late 30s, American.
2a. 24 hour terms.
2b. Only ROTC.
2c. Started in Scouts at my Scoutmaster’s insistence and never stopped. Also, my scoutmaster also taught ROTC at my high school. Also it just seems more logical to me.

3a. Metric for distances, pounds & gallons for everything else.
3b. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
3c. Scouts again. We had much more occasion to use meters and kilometers than liters and kilograms, so social pressure kept me on the British system for mass & volume.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms? 12-hour. Even though I know that 24-hour is not ambiguous and therefore works better, and try to use it as much as possible.
2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military? N/A
2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time? N/A

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons? Meters, pounds, litres. Yes, it’s an unholy mixture of units. That’s what you get for stopping the metric conversion process halfway through, almost a generation ago.
3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do? No. I try to be as metric as possible.
3c. If not, why? I hate the confusion of being betwixt and between.

1. U.S.
2a. 12-hour
2b. n/a
2c. If you answer to 2c was No…what?
3a. Distance: large distance, miles; shorter distance, yards; very small distance, picas; things in bottles/cartons, whatever the container says (i.e. half-gallon, fifth, liter)
3b. I think so, except for the picas
3c. n/a
1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?
Male - Mid-40s.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
12-Hour.

2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?
n/a

2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?
n/a

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
Hooo boy. Both. Either. All. Even intermixed within the same thought. See my age and location for an explanation. My generation in Canada learned the Imperial system and then sometime when we were just catching on, the whole thing changed.
I use a whole mixture of metric and Imperial with little rhyme or reason for changing between the two.
Distance - Measurements around the house are in inches and feet, as are personal heights. Trips are in kilometers. Golf is in yards. We use both at work on engineering drawings.
Weight - Pounds, typically. No one my age says he weighs 70 kilos, for example. But deli meats and the like are purchased by the gram/kilogram.
Volume - Hmmm… Litres are more prominent than gallons, but sometimes gallons, pints, and quarts when it comes to certain maintenance routines, or cooking or baking.

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
Not sure.

3c. If not, why?
The younger kids are more metric than I; the older folks are more Imperial than I. I don’t know which system would actually be used by the majority at this point? However I can easily convert in my head so there isn’t really a barrier. Funny how pool temperatures here are still spoken of in Fahrenheit, but air temperatures are in Celsius. "Hey, it’s 28 out. The pool’s at 77. Anyone going for a swim?"

1. Male, 30s, American (living abroad for the past 6+ years).
2a. 24 hour.
2b. Nope.
2c. First, it is not “military” time. It is just normal and makes sense. All the digital clocks in my home such as on the oven or microwave are in 24-hour format.

3a. It depends. I use both cm and inches, feet and meters (never yards), I use both ponds and kg (never stone). It really depends on what is being measured. e.g. for fuel efficiency I always use mpg.
3b. Probably not.
3c. I’ve lived in a variety of countries and have adapted habits from all of them.

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?

Male, approximate age -10 years: 31. British.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?

I am temporally bilingual. I think in terms of 24 hrs most of the time, all my clocks are set to show 24 hrs by preference - but in conversation I use 12 hr terms.

2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?

No (but the “military” thing is an American quirk, isn’t it?)

2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?

Yes, because it’s more sensible, good for changing time zones, and it’s available on digital clocks/watches, and our timetables and so on are all in 24 hr clocks.

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?

Long distance: miles (though I can make myself think in km in metric countries)
Cooking: metric weight and volume
Beer: pints!
Personal weight: stones and pounds
Object weight: kilos/tonnes
Gasoline: litres (though this is a recent development and I still understand UK gallons)

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?

Not really, I use the ones I like. However I use units that people understand when talking to them.

3c. If not, why?

N/A

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?
Male, United States, between 14 and 34.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
12-hour terms, but have no problem converting between the two.

2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?
Well I used to have a wristwatch and changing between 12 and 24 hour time was great fun.

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
Distance; for driving-range, miles. For more everyday stuff, I like meters and feet equally. Weight is in grams up to about a kilo or so, where I generally switch to pounds. Volume is almost exclusively metric and in liter denominations, typically milliliters.

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
Sometimes. But Imperial measurement sucks donkey balls, makes no sense, and crashes spaceships.

**3c. If not, why? **
Through school and work I spend more time in the lab every year. Obviously, due to the aforementioned testicular vacuum, we use metric there.

1. USA, male, 60.
2a. 24 hour
2b. No
2c. I’m a computer geek
3a. feet/pounds/gallons
3b. yes
1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?
Male, 63, Australian living in the US.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
12-hour terms.
2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?
2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
Metres, kilograms and litres (note the spelling there)
3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
Yes, since I regard my country as Australia. It’s the the system that the majority of m,y country of residence use.
3c. If not, why?

I went through metrication in the 1970s in Australia, and found everything much easier using the metric system. When I moved to the US about 9 years ago, one of the small annoyances was having to learn a third system of measurement: US customary measures are not the same as those used in Australia or even the UK before metrication. So when I see a “pint” can of beer imported from the UK into the US it is not completely clear what volume the can has. (In fact, it’s the US pint, which is about 83% of the imperial pint).

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?
Male, 40s, British

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
Either, depending on the situation - probably with some bias toward 12h

2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?
No

2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?
Many electronic devices and media require it, or express it that way. For those that are configurable, I think I left them all on their various default settings.

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
Again, any of these depending on the scenario and convenience of the units (for example, when I’m woodworking, I measure some things in inches, others in centimetres).

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
Not automatically, but I do try to adhere to the metric system wherever interaction with others is concerned.

3c. If not, why?
Non-metric units are inherently easier to work with, especially where calculations are concerned, but as a person who grew up using multiple systems, some of the non-metric measures are still ingrained in me. I can visualise a pint more easily than a litre, simply because I have held many pints of beer and milk in my hand.

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?

Female, 20, American

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?

12-hour terms. I’ve never been in situations where the am or pm wouldn’t be obvious by context.

2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?

N/A

2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?

N/A

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?

Trips are measured in miles, while for smaller distances I use the units of “football field”, “eight marching band steps”, “my height”, meter or yards depending on how many hours ago my last physics class was, feet, and inches. Also, I know that from a certain crease in my wrist to the tip of my middle finger is exactly six inches, so I also use that when estimating.

Weight is always in pounds, though in reality I have a better idea of what a kilogram feels like.

I use gallons or liters interchangeably–normally I compare the unknown volume to something else (“It’s about the size of the cheap blue mixing bowl.”)

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do? Yes, mostly.

3c. If not, why? N/A

1. Male, 44, Australian

2a. 12-hour terms

3a. metres/kilograms/litres
3b. Yes

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?

Female, 32, American

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?

That can really depend. If I am at the mall and somebody asks me the time I respond in 12-hour time. If I am out doing field work or on a job site and/or recording time on data sheets or field logs then I am in a 24-hour time mode. I can look at my watch and know that 7 pm is 1900 and respond either way.

2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?

Nope.

2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?

I use it on job related field papers, samples and so forth to avoid confusion with labs, project managers etc…

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?

I am pretty much a feet/pounds/gallons gal… lame as it is, the metric system trips me up sometimes even though it is easier to use… I just hate converting.:o I am so ashamed - bad scientist, no biscuit

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?

Yep.

**3c. If not, why? **

n/a

1. Male, 35, US

2. 12 hour

3a. Feet, pounds, gallons Except drugs.
3b. Yup.
3c. I’ve never built anything in another country.

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?
Woman 40’s, English
2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
Depends on circumstances - for nautical & for clarity I’ll use 24 clock
2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?No
2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?
Not military time but the 24 hour clock to me - I wouldn’t say oh eight hundred hours. Nautical stuff & itinerary/travel planning.
3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
Imperial
3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
Yes
1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?
Female, 30, Canuck.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?
12 hour. I can quickly convert to 24 hour when needed with minimal mental gymnastics, but those occasions are few and far between.
2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military?
N/A
2c. If you answer to 2c was No, do you know why you think in military time?
N/A

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?
Distance (small) = inches/feet
Distance (medium/large) = metres/kilometres
Weight = pounds
Volume (small) = tablespoons/cups
Volume (medium/large) = litres
3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?
Like Sunspace said, our country is a weird mongrel mixture of metric and imperial, so I couldn’t tell you offhand what the “majority” of people use since it tends to vary quite a bit from one person to the next.
3c. If not, why?
See 3b.

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?

Female. 26. American.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?

12 hour.
3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?

er, pretty much I don’t. I suck at guessing measurements. Because of wearing kimono, I do tend to think of shoe sizes in centimeters, which isn’t particularly helpful when buying things online (unless it’s zori or geta)

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?

I prefer metric because it’s easier to get an decimal answer and it feels more accurate. (I’m usually measuring for something I’m doing on the computer. Illustrator does not take fractions.) Although sometimes I use picas and points.

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality?

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms?

12 but I understand 24. No military.

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons?

Total mishmash. I use either one except for my height and weight. That’s always feet/pounds.

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do?

Like the other Canucks - Who knows? Maybe,

3c. If not, why?

I grew up with Imperial, my son grew up metrified so I had to learn both.

1. What’s your gender, approximate age (± 10 years), and nationality? Female, 44 (er, I mean 34 to 54), US.

2a. When asked the time, do you first think of the answer in 24-hour or 12-hour terms? 24-hour

2b. If you said 24-hour terms, have you ever served in the military? Very briefly (early 80’s, recruiter promised the impossible, in writing. I completed USN Basic before anyone noticed) but mostly I divorced a Marine and a sailor, I’m currently married to a (different) Marine, and my work computer uses 24-hour.

*2c. If you answer to 2b was No, do you know why you think in military time? *See 2b

3a. When asked a measurement of distance, weight, or volume, do you first think of an answer in terms meters/kilograms/liters or feet/pounds/gallons? I first think of measurement in less specific terms – like big, little, long, short, near, far, etc. then, only when I need to be more clear, do I think of feet/pounds/gallons.

3b. Do you automatically use the measuring system that the majority of people in your country do? Yes. Using metric requires thought and remembering the conversion formulas.
*3c. If not, why? *NA

Male, 28, live in Britain.

Who’s asking? If it’s just ‘what time is it?’, or a mundane timetabling thing during work, then 12-hour. Transport I’ll generally think 24-hour, and scribbled notes to myself will also use it.

No

I first came across the term ‘military time’ on this website. I think in the 24-hour clock when it’s more logical to do so. If my flight or train is going to be listed as departing at 1515, then why complicate things by converting to 12-hour and back again? Make yourself think in the units being used.

I’m in Britain. We use a mix and muddle of everything (see above). I’ll talk about journeys in miles, but when in other countries quite happily understand signs telling me distances in kilometres, without converting. I can work with metres better than feet or yards, perhaps because it’s easy to visualise things such as a 25m swimming pool, and also as I’ve never been any use on any football pitch I have a skewed view of the markings, which I know some people use as a reference.

Litres for everything except pints (of beer ) and mpg statistics. I only talk in pounds with the butcher because he’ll take the piss if you mention kilogrammes, but I’m thinking in the latter, converting on the fly, feeling like a secret rebel. And as with almost everybody in the country, I know what I weigh in stone, but couldn’t tell you it in kilos or pounds without a bit of thinking.