Cons of the Metric System

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In the 1700s, the French developed a standardized national method of measurement--the metric system. Although many other countries have chosen to use the system as well, there are some difficulties in converting to it.

How the Metric System Works

  • The metric system uses one unit for each different type of measurement--meters for length, watts for power, etc. Prefixes are added to show quantities for measurements containing many of or a portion of the basic unit. For instance, a kilowatt is one thousand watts; a decimeter is one-tenth of one meter. These prefixes remain the same across types of measurement.

Very Different

  • Most of the problem with changing to the metric system is that it is so different from other systems; for instance, getting used to only using meters no matter the distance being discussed, rather than using feet, yards, miles, etc.

No Easy Back and Forth

  • Since the metric measurements are so distinct and standardized, it can be awkward and time-consuming to convert between metric and other systems.

Large Scale Change Necessary

  • Because the metric system is usually so different than the existing standard, adopting metric requires large-scale change. This can result in extra expense and stress.

Standard Despite Difficulties

  • According to the U.S. Metric Association, 95 percent of the world has adopted the metric system.

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