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British measures: feet, inches, etc.
Alex from Italy writes:
  I was reading a biography of an actor whose height was given as 6'3''. In Europe we have centimetres and metres for the height of a person. Could you possibly tell me how this height would correspond in metres?
Roger Woodham replies:
Feet and inches / metres and centimetres
Six foot (or six feet) three (inches) would describe a fairly tall man. Note that we would normally say six foot despite the plural reference, although six feet is also possible. As a rough guide, three feet is almost one metre, so six feet would be nearly two metres.
To be precise:
1 inch = 2.54 cm (two point five four centimetres)
12 in (12'') = 1 foot (1') = 30.48 cm (thirty point four eight cm)
3 ft (3') = 1 yard = 0.9144 m (zero point nine one four four metres)
Here are some more tall men and women for you to practise feet and inches with:
Who is the tallest man in the world and how tall is he? ~ It's Radhouane Charbib from Tunisia and he's 7 ft 8.9 in. ~ That's pretty tall!
And the world's tallest woman? ~ It's Sandy Allen from the US who is 7' 2.5''. By the age of ten she was already 6' 3''. ~ That's amazing!
We also use inches, feet and yards to measure length and width as well as height. Note the following examples:
Our dining room is long and narrow - it's about 30' by 10'.
We had over a foot of snow this morning. How much did you have? ~ Oh, we had about six inches.
The post office is about a hundred yards down this road on the left. ~ Is that two blocks away in American English? ~ Two or three, I'd say.
To complete the table:
1760 yd = 1 mile = 1.6093 km (one point six o nine three km)
If you are planning to drive in Britain next year you will need to know the following:
The speed limit in towns and built-up areas is normally 30 mph (thirty miles per hour) although in some areas it may be 20 mph.
The speed limit on roads outside towns and villages is normally 60 mph except where it is sign-posted as 50 mph.
The speed limit on motorways is 70 mph, but watch out for lower speed restrictions which may be sign-posted.
Thirty miles per hour - is that approximately 50 kph? ~ I guess it is.
And seventy miles per hour - is that roughly 110 kph? ~ Round about 110, yes.
Ounces, pounds and stones / grams and kilograms
English people just like to be different, don't they? The bad news is that we still use pounds and stones to measure people's weight instead of kilograms. At least the older generation do. Here is another conversion table and note the abbreviations that are used:
1 ounce = 28.35 g (twenty eight point three four grams)
16 oz = 1 pound = 0.4536 kg (o point four five three six kilos)
14 lbs = 1stone = 6.35 kg
How much do you weigh? I'm eleven stones eleven pounds - that's about 75 kilos. I'm a little bit overweight for my height. Somebody my height and build (I'm 5' 8'') should weigh between 10 st 7 and 11 st 7.
And if you are cooking something in an English house, you will know that recipes for solid substances are still given in pounds (lbs) and ounces (ozs) and for liquid substances in pints (1 pint = 0.57 litres). A rough guide here is that 4 ozs is very roughly 100 gr.
Yorkshire Pudding
4 oz plain flour, tsp salt, 1 egg, pint milk, pint water
To make Yorkshire Pudding to accompany your roast beef, you will need 4 ounces of plain four, an egg, a quarter of a pint of milk and a quarter of a pint of water. And a pinch of salt.
Dresses / shirts / shoes
Finally, if you are going shopping in England on your next visit, you will need to note English clothing sizes, although European equivalents are usually also given on the labels.
British measurements

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