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People mostly use two main types of rulers. They are based on two different measurement systems – English and Metric ones. It might seem strange but these rulers are fairly easy to read. Once you understand the basics listed in the article you will have no problems with any type of a ruler.
Let’s start with the English type of a ruler. It contains 12 scales (large markings) that denote inches. 12 inches equals 1 foot (0,3 m). Each inch splits into 15 scales (small markings), that is equal to 16 scales for each inch on the ruler.
The longer the line on the ruler is, the bigger the measurement is. In a range from “1 inch” to “1/16 of an inch”, the size of the markings becomes smaller in correspondence with the measurements which also decrease. You should read the ruler from left to right. If you decide to measure some object, just align it with the left end of the ruler. The number you see on the right end of the ruler defines the length of the object.
English ruler has 12 inch markings. They are numbered and denoted with the largest markings. If you want to find out the length of a nail, align its beginning or end with the left side of the ruler. If the beginning or end of the nail can be aligned with a big marking “5”, the length of the nail is 5 inches. Some rulers also have numbered markings “1/2 of an inch”, that’s why be careful and don’t mix the largest “inch” markings with the small ones.
„1/3 of an inch markings”. Such markings are twice as short as „inch” markings. They are put in the middle of each marking in 1 inch because they denote the half of an inch. It means that such markings are made between 0 and 1 inch, 1 and 2 inches, 2 and 3 inches and so on. There are 24 of them on the ruler.
For example, align the left side of a ruler with the top of a pencil rubber. If the tip of the pencil points to the marking between “4” inches and “5” inches, then the length of the pencil is 4 and ½ of an inch.
“1/4 of an inch” markings. Such markings are put between „1/2 of an inch” markings, they are smaller in size and denote ¼ of an inch. In the first inch these markings denote ¼, 1/2/ 1/3 and 1 inch. Despite the fact that there are separate markings “1/2”of an inch and “1 inch”, they are also the part of ¼ of an inch measurement, because 2/4 of an inch equals half of an inch and 4/4 of an inch equals 1 inch. There are 48 of such markings on the ruler.
For example, if you want to find out the length of a carrot and just align its end with the marking between “6 1/2” and “7”, then the length of it is 6 and ¾ of an inch.
„1/8 of an inch” markings. These markings are put between „1/4 of an inch” markings. There are markings between 0 and 1 inches which denote 1/8, 1/4 (or 2/8), 3/8,1/2 (or 4/8), 5/8, 6/8 (or 3/4), 7/8 and 1 (or 8/8) of an inch. There are 96 of such markings on the ruler.
For example, if you want to measure a square of cloth and its edge is aligned with the 6th marking after the marking “4” of an inch which is between “1/4” of an inch and “1/2” of an inch. It means that the length of the cloth equals 4 and 3/8 of an inch.
„1/16 of an inch” markings. These markings are put between “1/8 of an inch” markings. They are the smallest ones on this type of a ruler. There are some markings between 0 and 1 inches which denote 1/16, 2/16 (or 1/8), 3/16, 4/16 (or 1/4), 5/16, 6/16 (or 3/8), 7/16, 8/16 (or 1/2), 9/16, 10/16 (or 5/8), 11/16, 12/16 (3/4), 13/16, 14/16 (or 7/8), 15/16, 16/16 (or 1) of an inch. There are 192 of such markings on the ruler.
For example, you want to measure the flower stem and its end is on the 11th line after the “5” inch marking. In this case the length of the stem is 5 and 11/16 of an inch. Not all the rulers have “1/16 of an inch” markings. If you are planning to measure tiny items or if you want to make some precise measurements, make sure your ruler has such markings.
Get a metric ruler. This type of a ruler uses centimeters instead of inches. Normal ruler usually has 30 numbered markings which denote centimeters. Between 2 centimeter markings there are 10 smaller markings which denote millimeters.
You can read this type of the ruler from left to right. If you want to measure some object, just align its end with the left side of a ruler. The number you see on the right defines the length of an object. The measurements of this type of the ruler are usually written in decimals instead of fractions. For example, you should write 0/5 cm but not ½ of a centimeter.
„Centimeter” markings. The large numbers next to the longest lines on the ruler denote the centimeter marks. There are 30 of them on the ruler. For example, align the left end of the ruler with the top of a pencil rubber. If the tip of the pencil points to a large marking “14”, it means that the length of the pencil is 14 cm.
“1/2 of a centimeter” markings. Such markings are little bit shorter than the centimeter markings. They are put in the middle of each scale in 1 cm, because they denote 0.5 cm. There are 60 of such markings on the ruler.
For example, if you want to measure a button and its edge equals the fifth marking between „1 cm” and „2 cm” markings, it means the diameter of it is 1.5 cm.
„Millimeters” markings. There are four markings between „centimeter” markings and “0.5 markings” and they denote millimeters. Each centimeter has 10 markings, including “0.5” marking (equals 5 millimeters). It means that 1 cm equals 10 mm. There are 300 of such markings on the ruler.
For example, if you want to measure a sheet of paper, the edge of which coincides with the seventh marking between “24”cm and “25” cm, then the length of it equals 247 mm or 24.7 cm.
Some tips for users
Make sure you use the right side of a ruler. Don’t mix inches with centimeters otherwise your measurements will be incorrect. Don’t forget than English ruler has 12 large markings and Metric ruler has 30 of them. Don’t hesitate to practice measuring and soon you’ll be able to make it fast and without any difficulty!