What is different? – Part I

(I am now familiar with many things that were a surprise to me when I first came to England, so much so that I hardly notice them anymore. When people ask me what is different, I usually can’t think of anything immediately. It is time for me to begin recording differences when I recognize them to slow the Britishization process.)

England only partially uses metric system.

Don’t be fooled by the Scientific Unit thought police propaganda that they made you recite in school–non-metric measurements are alive and well outside of the US. Notable examples:

  • Snow is measured in inches.
  • Road signs are in miles/hour and miles to destination.
  • Human weights are given in stone. Stone?! My scale shows that I am roughly 13 stone.
  • Beer and cider are served by the pint and half-pint.
  • In a single recipe you will need to deal with both systems. Sticky Toffee Pudding (yum!) requires 75 grams of dates and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.
  • And of course football is a popular sport.

The real question is why the English are unit-schizophrenics. Why did they switch some units but not all? My English coworker had the answer: “Because this is England, and we measure in metric except when we don’t.”

The Schrockinator


3 responses to “What is different? – Part I

  1. I think you’ll find younger people use metric more (since their more comfortable with it), it’s older people who flip-flop between the two.

    Although we’ve taught the metric system in school since 1970, most people I know tend to use imperial measurements for most everyday things. It’s only when you need to be precise (2mm vs 1/16 inch, for example) that we switch to back to metric.

  2. I suspect you mean Britishisation process, an Es rather than a Zed.

  3. The Schrockinator

    Clearly my Britishisation is not yet complete.

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