If I have a square with side $2\ \text{km}$, what is its area: $2\ \text{sq km}$ or $4\ \text{km}^2$?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The area is $4$ sq. km. or $4\text{ km}^2$. The units square kilometer and $\text{ km}^2$ mean the same thing. $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2012 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ How many 1kmx1km squares can you fit in it? Ergo? $\endgroup$
    – Did
    Sep 26, 2012 at 10:17
  • $\begingroup$ Or you can say: open parenthesis two kilometer closed parenthesis squared: $(2~\mathrm{km})^2$. :-) $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2012 at 10:21
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    $\begingroup$ The notation $4\,\mathrm{km}^2$ will be understood all over the world. The notation $4\,\mathrm{sq. km}$ only in English speaking countries. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Sep 26, 2012 at 10:28

2 Answers 2


A square with side $2\ \text{km}$ has area $4\ \text{km}^2$. This is pronounced as four square kilometres.


Suppose that a triangle has $\text{height = }a \text{ cm}, \text{ base = }b \text{ cm}$. The area, in mathematical notation, is $\Large {a\cdot b \over 2} \normalsize \text{cm}^2 $.

You may pronounce the above as the quantity a times b all over two square centimeters, even though there is no difference at all.

  • $\begingroup$ Your area formula is a factor of 10,000,000,000 off. $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2012 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Henning: Thanks, I just got it right. $\endgroup$
    – P.K.
    Sep 26, 2012 at 13:48
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    $\begingroup$ But now the pronunciation is wrong. $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2012 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ Heh, you're a lifesaver. $\endgroup$
    – P.K.
    Sep 26, 2012 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Hennig. What do you mean by your comment 10-billion off $\endgroup$
    – VAR121
    Sep 27, 2012 at 4:26

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