Measuring Capacity Using the Metric System

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  • 0:00 Metric Capacity Units
  • 1:05 Conversions
  • 1:40 Example 1
  • 2:15 Example 2
  • 2:40 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

In this video lesson, you will learn what units are used to measure capacity or volume in the metric system. You will also learn how to convert between these units and what special numbers are required to do so.

Metric Capacity Units

In this lesson, we talk about the metric system's units for measuring capacity or volume. The metric units for capacity or volume include the milliliter and the liter. The milliliter is used to measure tiny or small amounts of liquid or fluid. Many times, when you get a prescription for some medicine that you need to drink, you will see the amount you need to take in milliliters. Liters are used to measure larger amounts of liquid. For example, you'll find liter bottles of soda and milk at the grocery store.

Both of these measurements for volume also have their own abbreviations. Milliliter is abbreviated with mL, and liter is abbreviated with L. For your prescriptions, you might see a written note that tells you to take 15 mL, 15 milliliters, twice a day. At the grocery store, you might see a jug of milk that contains 2 L, 2 liters. Notice that liter is abbreviated with a capital L instead of a lowercase l. This is to make sure that the L is L and not a number 1.


To convert between these two measurements, you use this equation: 1 liter = 1,000 milliliters

There are 1,000 milliliters in one liter, which gives you a conversion number of 1,000. So, when you need to convert liters into milliliters, you multiply by 1,000. When you convert the other way, from milliliters to liters, you divide by 1,000. Remember, when converting from larger to smaller, you multiply, and when converting from smaller to larger, you divide.

Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

Example 1

Convert 2.5 liters to milliliters.

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