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An equivalent is a statement of fact relating one unit to another.
  • 12 inches equals 1 foot (or 12 inches = 1 foot)
  • 5,280 feet equals 1 mile (or 5,280 feet = 1 mile)
  • 60 seconds equals 1 minute (or 60 seconds = 1 minute)
An equivalent can be written as 2 rates called conversion factors.
Example Equivalents and their Two Conversion Factors
(Statement of fact)
--> Conversion
Factor 1
OR Conversion
Factor 2
12 inches = 1 foot --> 12 inches / foot OR 1 foot per 12 inches
1foot / 12 inches
5280 feet = 1 mile --> 5280 feet per 1 mile
5280 feet / 1 mile
OR 1 mile per 5280 feet
1 mile / 5280 feet
60 sec. = 1 min. --> 60 sec. per 1 min.
60 sec. / 1 min.
OR 1 min. per 60 sec.
1 min./60 sec.

In the English System, there's no pattern to the numbers in the equivalents. (Look in above table at the numbers: 12, 5280, 60.) That's why scientists don't use the English System. They use the metric system, which we'll get to. I'm using the English System for now because we're more familiar with it.
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Types of Unit Systems
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Working with units
Conversion from one unit to another
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