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The basic unit for the measurement of length is the metre. When mass (the weight of something) is being measured, the basic unit of measurement is the kilogram. A kilogram (kg) is 1 000 grams (g).

The gram is used to measure small weights, and the tonne (t) is used for larger weights: 1 000 g = 1 kg and 1 000 kg = 1 tonne.


A gram is one thousandth of a kilogram (0.001 kg). Things which might have a mass of a single gram include items such as a paperclip or a marble. One millilitre of water (a cubic centimetre of it) also has a mass of 1 gram.

Some comparative gram amounts



1 g

a marble

50 g

a small box of powdered soup

375 g

a small tub of margarine
850 g a tin of canned fruit
950 g a large box of breakfast cereal
1 000 g half a dozen large apples
5 000 g a large bag of potatoes








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The relationship of the millilitre to the cubic centimetre

One litre (1 000 mL) is the amount of water that would have a mass of exactly 1 kilogram (1 000 g). A single millilitre has a mass of 1 gram and occupies the space of 1 cm3.

Converting grams to kilograms (g kg)

As there are 1 000 grams in a kilogram, to convert g to kg is simply a matter of dividing by 1 000. This means moving the decimal point 3 places to the left.


8 000 g 8 000 1 000 8 kg
6500 g 6 500 1 000 6.5 kg
454 g 454 1 000 0.454 kg

Converting kilograms to grams to (kg g)

As a kilogram equals 1 000 grams, to convert kg to g is simply a matter of multiplying by 1000. This means moving the decimal point 3 places to the right.


6 kg 6 x 1 000 6 000 g
8.7 kg 8.7 x 1 000 8 700 g
0.049 kg 0.049 x 1 000 49 g

Several different notations for expressing mass

Masses involving grams and kilograms can be written in a number of different notations. They may be written as quantities:

i) in grams
ii) in both grams and kilograms, or
iii) in kilograms, using decimal notation.


2 365 g

1 800 g

450 g

84 g

kilogram and gram

2 kg 365 g

1 kg 800 g

450 g

84 g

Decimal notation (kg)

2.365 kg

1.800 kg
or 1.8 kg

0.450 kg
or 0.45 kg

0.084 kg


Other Chapters

  1. Mass
  2. Kilograms
  3. Tonnes

Chapters: Mass Kilograms Tonnes

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