Imperial vs Metric, an easy way to measure America

Imperial vs Metric, an easy way to measure America

What?! It is 96 degrees (Fahrenheit) out? While the rest of the world uses the metric system, America uses a mix of the metric system and the imperial system, which remains a bit of a mess.  This can be confusing and challenging for many International students.

We at peerTransfer have come up with some tips and tricks to easily get used to the imperial system.


While most countries measure temperature in Celsius, Americans use Fahrenheit.  Before you get frustrated with their measurements, 32 degrees Fahrenheit = freezing point and 212 degrees = boiling point (vs 0 degrees Celsius = freezing point and 100 degrees Celsius = boiling point – makes total sense, right?!), here are some easy ways to remember how hot or cold it is without having to do the math:

Celsius (Celsius to Fahrenheit: multiply by 180/100, then add 32)

  • 100° C = boiling point
  • 30-100° C = hot
  • 20-30° C = nice summer weather
  • 10-20° C = fall weather
  • 0-10° = winter weather
  • everything below 0° C = cold

Fahrenheit (Fahrenheit to Celsius: subtract 32, then multiply by 100/180)

  • 212° F = boiling point
  • 90-212° F = too hot
  • 70-90° F = nice summer weather
  • 50-70° F = nice fall weather
  • 40-50° F = cool but still ok (with a jacket)
  • anything below 32° F = cold

Or you can always use a converter.

Distance Measurements

Height and Distance

You’re 5 foot tall?  Interesting, but all feet are different?!  In the standard system, distance is measured in miles, yards, feet, and inches.

  • A mile is is 5280 feet, a yard is 3 feet, and foot is 12 inches.

Here are the best approximations to help orient you!

  • 3 kilometers is just short of 2 miles.
  • A meter is roughly equal to 3 feet, or 1 yard.
  • and 2.5 cm are 1 inch.


Ha! You thought that pounds were pounds: 1 pound = 500g.  However, in the imperial system, 1 pound (lb.) = 454 grams.

The easiest way to compare and remember here is that 1kg roughly equals 2 pounds (lb.).



Just kidding – fortunately that is the same everywhere in the world, although there are different time zones in the different parts of the US.

Let us know if you have any further questions or additional tips in the comments below. Happy measuring!

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