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When a number is less than or equal to one, should I read the unit as cubic meter, and not as cubic meters?

Does the below read as "10 to the negative 5 cubic meter" or "10 to the negative 5 cubic meters"?

$$ 10 ^{-5}\,\mathrm m ^{3} $$

Thank you.

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closed as off topic by Cameron Buie, TMM, Ben Millwood, mrf, GEdgar Mar 10 '13 at 15:08

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Whether or not to pluralize "meter" is a question of English grammar, not a mathematical question. –  Henning Makholm Mar 10 '13 at 14:48
@HenningMakholm, you are right, and I apologize. But I am trying to read mathematical expressions to others. I have read documents on "how to speak math", but I haven't found the answer. Sorry... –  Tony Mar 10 '13 at 15:02
On local TV weather personality annoyed me by reading his chart: total rainfall so far this year: three and two tenths of an inch. –  GEdgar Mar 10 '13 at 15:07

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

It's a bit ambiguous. You could say "$10$ millionths of a cubic meter" (in this case), or "(any number but $1$) cubic meters."

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Thank you very much for your kind answer. So as long as it's not 1, I should use cubic meters? –  Tony Mar 10 '13 at 15:06
Pretty much, yes. –  Cameron Buie Mar 10 '13 at 15:08
Again, thank you very much!! –  Tony Mar 10 '13 at 15:12

Generally the singular form meter is reserved only for a unit of measurement i.e. one meter but you can of course have fractions of one meter, or $x$ meters where $x$ is any real number not equal to 1 or -1.

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Thank you very much for your kind answer. Then, any number, whether it's a fraction like 0.1, I should say 0.1 meters? And I should read my question as 10 to the negative five cubic millimeters? I apologize for more questions. –  Tony Mar 10 '13 at 14:58

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