1. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Mile or Kilometre?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Kita, Jul 20, 2013.

    I'm currently writing a short story with an American MC. I know in the UK we use Miles as a distance measurement but is it the same in America?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    The same, miles. Kilometers might be used if the setting and the actors are military, but the laymen will always use miles in the U.S.
     
  3. Kita
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    Kita Senior Member

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    Thanks! That helps a lot.
     
  4. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    They use miles. :)
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Miles, yes. But this thread goes to my question, I'm using 'kilometers' in my story because it makes more sense as a future measure. But the following phrase sounds better to me than the second one and I'm wondering if it's just unfamiliarity that makes the second not sound right.

    ...for miles in all directions.

    ...for kilometers in all directions.

    Is there another way one would word the second phrase?
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I think it's just unfamiliarity. I know how many lbs. are involved when someone says, "I'm at least a good two stone overweight!" but it still slaps my reading ear as strange.
     
  7. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    I've heard 'clicks' used as an abbreviation for kilometres, I think in U.S. based movies with military language.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's 'klicks', although 'clicks' seems to be growing in popularity. It's slang, so spelling is more convention than sanction.

    Also, nobody mentioned 'kilometres' vs 'kilometers' I believe the former is preferred in most UK-derived dialects of English, but the latter is the American spelling. Canada appears to have picked up a bit of an American habit as well, although both spellings are acceptable in Canadian English.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I see that it's 'klicks' as it probably derived from kilometers.

    But, "for klicks in all directions", sounds even worse. It seems like 'klicks' demands a number in front of it.



    Is that because you said stone instead of stones? Because it doesn't sound wrong to my ear otherwise. I do know what a stone's weight is but even if I didn't, the sentence itself still sounds OK.



    Edited to add: I just Googled "can see for kilometers in all directions" with the quotes and got lots of returns so the problem must just be how it sounds to my ear.
     
  10. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's mad, I always though a click used in military circles was for some kind of knob that literally makes a clicking sound when turned, each turn/click representing a specific measurement. We use to have a wheel at work (on a building site) for measuring long distances (longer than a tape measure), the diameter of the wheel was 1 metre and we'd push the wheel, attached to a pole/handle and each time it clicked was 1 metre.

    Having googled it tere is a nice story about the Australians using a click to measure as well http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/f/faqklickdef.htm all rumour or urban myth of course but nice stories all the same
     
  11. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    >the diameter of the wheel was 1 metre
    As a pedantic note, I'm pretty sure the circumference was 1 meter.

    Most people in the US who don't work in scientific areas or travel the world will have no concept of kilometers, and will only recognize them as a foreign thing, or something used in scifi. We're pretty uneducated on average, no matter how much schooling we've been through.
     
  12. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    DOH!
     
  13. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Oddly enough, those for whom the word is a common part of local vernacular often (perhaps even usually) leave the word unchanged for singular or plural. ;)
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    We say a lot of things in the singular

    weight - 10 stone 4
    money - 29 pound 99
    distance - 5 and a half mile
    volume - plural for some strange reason :(
     
  15. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yup. :) Learned that when I was stationed at RAF Chicksands in Bedfordshire. ;)
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    was that when you were ordering 10 pints of lager? :D
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not much of a drinker. 10 pints would have erased the better part of my fond memories of the place. :D
     
  18. The Peanut Monster
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    The Peanut Monster Senior Member

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    Even though we use kilometres, we would still say some thing goes "on for miles and miles". So I think your first phrase is ok, even your story uses kilometres.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    Really? That's the first I've heard that. Wow.

    I mean that, thank you.
     
  20. Ian J.
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    Ian J. Active Member

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    How about phrasing like:

    'I could see for several klicks in all directions.'

    ??

    Or for greater distances:

    'I could see for hundreds of klicks in all directions.'
     
  21. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    I use both miles and kilometers in my story as the two main characters live in Australia and England. I will have to switch between the two depending on who's talking in dialog, or perhaps state both measurements in narrative to try and make the language accessible to all eventual readers (if any) from different parts of the world.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    or just 'far'?
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    and 'wicked far' for longer distances...
     
  24. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    If they're talking then it all depends on what their background is. If it's part of the general text, then it depends on your primary readership and the context/setting of the story.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    For me, readership will be American but I want to be true to a future world where people from multiple cultures live on a new planet after leaving Earth. Metric makes sense as the adopted system on a new planet.
     

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