Feet and inches aren’t used in many countries. This is because it’s part of the imperial system of measurement, something that the rest of the world has phased out long ago. In fact, besides the United States, Myanmar, and Liberia, every other country in the world uses the metric system of measurement – commonly called the International System of Units (SI).
SI is also the system of measurement used in science, technology, and commerce, making it important to learn. Most scientific literature will use this system when measuring height, weight, distance, etc.
But in the US, feet and inches are the standard way to measure height or length. It’s not often used in academia or science, but you can sometimes find it in journals.
Whether you are at college or a professional in the work field, it’s important to know when to use feet and inches and when not to. But more importantly, you must know how to write it correctly, and that’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article. We’ll also explain how you can convert feet and inches to centimeters, inches to feet, and everything in between. Let’s dive in.
You can write feet and inches in four ways – communicating it in words, substituting in numbers, abbreviating them, or using their symbols. For instance, suppose we are describing Jane, who is five feet two inches tall. We have just used the first method by writing her height in words. If you don’t want to write out the full thing, you can shorten it to five foot two, but this is considered more informal.
The second method is to substitute in numbers. This means that Jane’s height would be written as 5 feet 2 inches. The third method is to use abbreviations. Thus Jane would be described as being 5 ft. 2 in. tall. And finally, we can use the symbols for feet and inches to show Jane’s height as 5’2”.
As you can see, the writing styles vary. There is no correct way, and the option you choose will depend on the context of your writing and who will be reading it.
Writing out a person’s height or describing the length of an item in feet and inches can get tedious, particularly if you’re writing multiple measurements. Luckily, there’s an abbreviated version of both feet and inches to make it simpler.
The abbreviation for writing feet is “ft.”. It should be noted that although feet is the plural of one foot, both the single and plural versions of the word can be abbreviated as “ft.”.
Inches can be abbreviated as “in.”. This applies to both singular and plural versions of the word, but in rare cases, you may find that the plural version is written as “ins.”.
Therefore, you can write height or measurement as “X ft. X in.”.
In some cases, you may see ft. and in. written without the period at the end. This looks like “ft” and “in”.
To show this in an example, suppose you were looking to buy a tabletop. After having visited your local hardware store, you’ve found the exact tabletop you were looking for, but it’s written as “2 ft. 3 in. by 4 ft 6 in”.
This means that the piece of wood is two feet three inches wide and four feet six inches long. As you can see, adding a period does not change the measurement scale; it’s simply expressed differently.
In other countries, feet and inches are abbreviated without the period unless when it is at the end of a sentence. However, US standard measurements typically have a period added to the end.
This is particularly useful when abbreviating inches since the measurement “in” can be confused with the word “in”. That’s why it’s good practice to abbreviate feet and inches as ft. and in.
It should also be noted that if “in.” falls at the end of a sentence, you do not need to add a second period – one will suffice.
Now that we know how to abbreviate feet and inches let’s look at how we can shorten this further by using symbols.
The symbol for both one foot and feet is a single apostrophe (‘). For example, you would write six feet as 6’.
The symbol for one inch and inches is two apostrophes (''). For example, you would write twelve inches as 12''.
Therefore, you can express someone’s height as X’X''. For instance, for someone who is six feet two inches tall, you would write 6’2''.
In some cases, you may see 6’2'' written with a space between the feet and inches, such as 6’ 2''. Either is fine and is often used interchangeably.
There are exactly 12 inches in one foot.
So, if you would like to convert feet to inches, simply multiply the number of feet by 12.
Suppose you had to convert 5 ft. to inches, you would make the following calculation:
- 5 ft. x 12 = 60 in.
Therefore, 5 feet is equal to 60 inches.
What if you had to convert 5 ft. 5 in. to inches. Well, you can do the same calculation and then add the 5 inches on:
- 5 ft. x 12 in. = 60 in.
- 60 in. + 5 in. = 65 in.
Therefore, 5 ft. 5 in. is equal to 65 inches.
You may think that converting inches to feet is a simple calculation that involves dividing the number of inches by 12. Although you will reach the right answer, it won’t be expressed in the format of feet and inches. Let’s take a look at an example.
Suppose we are using the example above of 65 inches. If we divide 65 by 12, we get an answer of 5.4167 feet. At this point, many people assume that 65 inches equate to 5 ft. 4 in, but as we’ve seen earlier, this is not true.
This is because there are 12 inches in a foot, not 10. This means that to calculate the number of inches, we have to do an additional calculation – multiply 0.4167 by 12 to convert this into inches.
Therefore, the full calculation will be as follows:
- 65 in. ÷ 12 in. = 5.4167 ft.
- 0.4167 ft x 12 = 5.0004 in.
- 5 ft + 5.0004 = 5 ft. 5 in.
How to convert centimeters to inches?
The metric system is the most used measurement system in the world. It’s also the system that’s used in scientific studies and literature.
For this reason, it’s important to understand how to convert inches to centimeters and vice versa. Fortunately, it’s a simple conversion and shouldn’t take long.
1 inch = 2.54 centimeters. Therefore, divide centimeters by 2.54 to know its length in inches.
Conversely, multiply an inch by 2.54, and you will know its length in centimeters.
For instance, suppose you are buying a tablecloth for your new tabletop. You’ve selected a few options, but the measurements are all in centimeters. Tablecloth A is 320 cm x 320 cm, Tablecloth B is 640 cm x 640 cm, and Tablecloth C is 550 cm x 550 cm. What are the lengths of these tablecloths in inches?
- Tablecloth A: 320 cm ÷ 2.54 = 125.98 inches. Thus, the size of the tablecloth is 125.98 in. x 125.98 in.
- Tablecloth B: 640 cm ÷ 2.54 = 251.97 inches. Thus, the size of the tablecloth is 251.97 in. x 251.97 in.
- Tablecloth C: 550 cm ÷ 2.54 = 261.54 inches. Thus, the size of the tablecloth is 216.54 in. x 216.54 in.
How to convert centimeters to feet?
We’ve just discovered that there is 2.54 cm in 1 inch. We also know that there are 12 inches in 1 foot. Therefore, we can multiply 2.54 by 12 to convert centimeters to feet. As such, 1 foot = 30.48 cm
So, to calculate how we can convert centimeters to feet, simply divide the measurement in centimeters by 30.48.
Let’s convert the tablecloths again to find their lengths in feet.
- Tablecloth A: 320 cm ÷ 30.48 = 10.50 ft.
- Tablecloth B: 640 cm ÷ 30.48 = 21 ft.
- Tablecloth C: 550 cm ÷ 30.48 = 18.05 ft.
It’s important to remember that if you want to find the length in the form of feet and inches, you will have to multiply the decimal numbers by 12. Knowing this, the lengths of the tablecloths in feet and inches are as follows:
- Tablecloth A: 10.50 ft. = 10 ft 6 in.
- Tablecloth B: 21 ft. = 21 ft.
- Tablecloth C: 18.05 ft. = 18 ft. 0.6 in.
Let’s show this calculation when measuring height. Mark is 180 cm tall; what is his height in feet and inches?
- 180 ÷ 30.48 = 5.905
- 0.905 ft. x 12 = 10.86 in.
Therefore, Mark is 5 ft. 10.86 in. tall (This would be rounded up to 5’11”).
We can also work backward from feet and inches to centimeters. Suppose Lucy is 5 ft. 7 in. tall; what is her height in centimeters?
- (5 ft. x 12) + 7 = 67 in.
- 67 in. x 2.54 cm = 170.18 cm
Therefore, Lucy is 170.18 cm tall.
Useful feet and inches to centimeter conversions
|Feet and inches||Centimeters|
|5 feet||152.40 cm|
|5 feet 1 inches||154.94 cm|
|5 feet 2 inches||157.48 cm|
|5 feet 3 inches||160.02 cm|
|5 feet 4 inches||162.56 cm|
|5 feet 5 inches||165.1 cm|
|5 feet 6 inches||167.64 cm|
|5 feet 7 inches||170.18 cm|
|5 feet 8 inches||172.72 cm|
|5 feet 9 inches||175.26 cm|
|5 feet 10 inches||177.8 cm|
|5 feet 11 inches||180.34|
|6 feet||182.88 cm|
|6 feet 1 inches||185.42 cm|
|6 feet 2 inches||187.96 cm|
|6 feet 3 inches||190.50 cm|
|6 feet 4 inches||193.04 cm|