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Concept

Metric Prefixes

A metric prefix is a word which is added to the beginning of a base unit to show a multiple of that unit. All metric prefixes are powers of Metric prefixes can be considered as an alternative to the scientific notation. For example, grams can be written as kilograms since the prefix kilo means
Each metric prefix has a unique symbol that can precede any unit symbol.
Metric Prefixes Greater Than
Prefix Symbol Power
peta P
tera T
giga G
mega M
kilo k
hecto h
deca da

Notice that the symbols for the prefixes greater than are uppercase letters, except for kilo, hecto, and deca. There is no prefix used for The metric prefixes less than are shown in the following table.

Metric Prefixes Less Than
Prefix Symbol Power
deci d
centi c
milli m
micro μ
nano n
pico p
femto f
Note that the prefix names cannot be used together.
Another important note is that the International System of Units base unit of mass, kilogram, already contains a prefix. Since multiple prefixes are not allowed, the prefix names shown in the tables are used with the unit gram (g).