Each base unit can get further defined by the addition of prefixes.

With some exceptions for weird lettering, the prefix gets attached to the front of a unit to create a complex metric unit. For example, a kilometer is meter and the prefix "kilo." One kilometer would then equal 1000 meters.

**Note:** The kilogram is the basic unit for mass but, as you already notice, it is 1000 grams (hence, kilo - gram).

### Metric Prefixes Table

Prefixes listed here are for base 10 explanations. When working with hexadecimal or octal, the same prefix names are used to indicate orders of magnitude.

The prefixes grow by a quantity of 3 (which we call magnitudes) over the base unit. Consider the way we talk about million (1,000,000) versus thousand (1,000) and you see how the 3 zeros are implied as the number stacks up.

It makes sense to use a calculator to convert these numbers quickly if you have to go through a lot of translations.