In the United States Customary Units of measurement, there are exactly 32 fluid ounces in a quart while 8 fluid ounces make 1 cup, 2 cups make a pint, and 2 pints make a quart. A U.S. customary gallon holds 4 quarts, 8 pints, 16 cups, or 128 fluid ounces. Other U.S. units of measure for liquid volume are the gill, which is half a cup or 4 fluid ounces; the fluid dram, which is 1/8th of an ounce; and the minim, which is 1/60th of a dram. It is important to note that even if the U.S. customary system uses the same unit names as the United Kingdom's imperial system, the actual measurements are different.
British Imperial Units
Some of the modern U.K. units of measurements can be traced from way back during the Anglo-Saxon era in England where the inch (or ynce in old English) measuring three barleycorns was established. The imperial unit of measurement also had foreign influences from the Normans and the Romans.
The British imperial system of measurement was formally established in 1824. Most of the measurements between the U.S. customary and British imperial units are largely similar. However, the difference in the volume measurements between these two systems are significant, as can be seen below.
- 20 British imperial fluid ounces = 1 British imperial pint
- 2 imperial pints = 1 imperial quart
- 4 imperial quart = 1 imperial gallon
Therefore, one British imperial gallon holds four imperial quarts, eight imperial pints, or 160 imperial fluid ounces.
Other Differences between US Customary and British Imperial Units
Not only do the U.S. customary and British imperial measurements vary in incremental portions of the units, but they also vary in terms of fluid volume with each unit. U.S. measurements during the Colonial era had major measurement influences from England as well as a few from Holland and Spain.
The U.S. stuck with the old English system of measurement when it came to volume, even after the British standardization its units of measurements became official in 1824. Below are the differences in volume measurements between these two systems in milliliters (ml) and liters.
- 1 U.S. fluid ounces = 29.573 ml
- 1 Imperial fluid ounces = 28.413 ml
- 1 U.S. pint = 473.176 ml
- 1 Imperial pint = 568.261 ml
- 1 U.S. quart = 0.94 liter or 940 ml
- 1 Imperial quart = 1.13 liters or 1,130 ml
- 1 U.S. gallon = 3.78 liters
- 1 Imperial gallon = 4.54 liters
Metrication in the US and UK
The metric system is the official system of measurement in most countries around the world. While most citizens of the U.S. and the U.K. still hold on to their traditional units of measurement, the governments of both countries have taken measures to encourage the shift to the metric system.
The U.K. government expressed interest in the metric system as early as the 1800s, but it was only in 1965 when it became U.K.'s official system of measurement. The U.S., on the other hand, passed two laws, the Metric Act of 1866 and the Metric Conversion Act of 1975. Suffice it to say, of course, that the U.S. is a bit slower than the U.K. in adapting to the metric system.
Understanding the Different Systems of Measurement
Understanding the difference between the U.S. customary, imperial, and metric systems of measurements will help mitigate confusion between these two systems. Imagine preparing a traditional recipe and not knowing whether the portions of the ingredients are in U.S. or imperial systems.
It can also be frustrating not knowing how to convert metric system measurements to a system that you are more comfortable using. Having a general idea of how the U.S., imperial, and metric systems "measure" up against one another will help you deal with any dilemma that you may face due to the measurement units in the future.
Use Online Conversions When Necessary
Using app converters is one of the practical and easier ways of converting between the systems of measurement. Having a reliable digital food scale and measuring implements for both the U.S. customary and metric systems will help make things easier in the kitchen. Such are the simple ways by which you can deal with measurement differences without having to force yourself to adapt to another measuring system and forgo one to which you have grown accustomed.