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.
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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