Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

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.

share|improve this question

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

Questions on Mathematics Stack Exchange are expected to relate to math within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

6  
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."

share|improve this answer
    
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.

share|improve this answer
    
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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.