Units Of Measure

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

Mignon Fogarty
4-minute read
Episode #71

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 Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.

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