Units Of Measure

Today's topic is units of measure (those words and symbols that come after numbers).

Mignon Fogarty
Episode #071

Have you ever wondered why pounds is abbreviated as lb. instead of pd or something that relates to how it is actually spelled? It has to do with Latin. The abbreviation lb. stands for the Latin phrase libre pondo, which means "pound of weight." There are some really extensive explanations on the web, so here are some links:


Grammar Girl Books Mentioned in the Podcast



1. “Ask the Editor.” AP Stylebook website. http://www.apstylebook.com/online/?do=ask_editor&id=16527 (accessed January 28, 2014).

2. Lutz, G. and Stevenson, D. Grammar Desk Reference. 2005. Writer’s Digest Books. p. 324.

3. “Periods and Abbreviations.” The Chicago Manual of Style,16th edition. Section 10.67. Chicago University Press. http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/16/ch10/ch10_sec067.html (accessed January 28, 2014).

4. Wikipedia contributors, "American and British English spelling differences," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. http://urltea.com/1ee1(accessed August 17, 2007).

5. “Correct SI-metric usage” U.S. Metric Association. April 24, 1007, lamar.colostate.edu/~hillger/correct.htm (accessed August 16, 2007).

This article is a minor rewrite and rerecording of an article that first appeared August 16, 2007.

The Oxford Dictionary of English Usage states that foot can also be used in sentences such as this: “Squiggly climbed a tree that was 10 foot tall.” It notes that this use is correct, but less common.


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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