I sense that there is a subtle difference between units of measure and units of measurement.

I'm writing an English application manual and now arrived at a chapter about units by which users can choose to enter or display their data (hectares, miles, meters, etc.). Which of the two phrases should I use?

  • I answered your question in more general terms but, in your particular situation, I would use specific terms such as "unit of area" and "unit of length," whenever possible
    – lauir
    Feb 19, 2016 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


The term unit of measure is commonly used as well as universally understood and accepted in medicine, other sciences, and engineering — leaving no need to use the longer term, unit of measurement.

In this usage, measure and measurement are essentially identical:

measure   2.1   A system or scale of standard measuring units – oxforddictionaries.com

measurement   1.2   A unit or system of measuring – oxforddictionaries.com

If this reduces to a survey of opinion, mine is that the broader meaning of measurement unnecessarily evokes the act that produced the result; the act itself should receive sufficient attention in the surrounding text.

If the amounts in question are input parameters rather than reports of actual measurements, the term unit of measure is more appropriate than unit of measurement.

More about measurement can be seen at English Language & Usage: Difference between “measurement” and “measuring.”

Even though the writers of Wikipedia's article chose Units of measurement as its title, Wikipedia also says:

Unit of measure commonly refers to Units of measurement for relevance to weights and measures.


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