How to use the metric system
The metric system provides units of measurement for distance, volume, mass, time, and temperature. It builds these units using a basic unit and a set of prefixes.The following list shows five important basic units in the metric system.
The following table shows ten metric prefixes, with the three most commonly used in bold.
PrefixMeaningNumberPower of Ten
Large and small metric units are formed by linking a basic unit with a prefix. For example, linking the prefix kilo- to the basic unit meter gives you the kilometer, which means 1,000 meters. Similarly, linking the prefix milli- to the basic unit liter gives you the milliliter, which means 0.001 (one thousandth) of a liter.