I'm writing SciFi in a hypothetical future where we Americans have finally switched to metric (hey, it's my world, I can make believe).
But being myself acculturated in imperial-units America, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to describe certain kinds of distances.
If something is a couple centimeters, no problem. If it's a couple meters, no problem. But what about something in between?
The ball bounced a few inches off the table.
I'm picturing six inches in my head. That's more like fifteen centimeters. If I said "a few centimeters" then it's not enough. But saying "it bounced fifteen centimeters" off the table is far too formal and precise.
So, how would a metric user conversationally describe a distance like that?
The box was a couple feet wide.
I'm picturing 18 - 30", or 45-76cm. Would a native metric speaker just say "about a half meter?"
That sounds better and makes more sense to me, so I guess it's not as much of a problem.
Still, for the non-Americans out there, what do you use, conversationally, to describe intermediate distances that are more in the range of 10-35 cm, or 65-85cm, where "a couple inches" or "a couple feet" would be pretty accurate but "a couple centimeters" or "a couple meters" would not be.
Do people ever say "decimeters?" I've never heard anyone actually say that one, though it does fit the use case.