# What Is the Difference Between Quantity and Unit?

## Units Versus Quantity A Mettler balance measures the quantity of sample with precision of 0.1 mg units. US DEA

What is the difference between a quantity and a unit? If you are working science or math problems, the answer to this question is that quantity is the amount or numerical value, while the unit is the measurement. For example, if a sample contains 453 grams, the quantity is 453 while the unit is grams. In this instance, the quantity is always a number and the units are any measure, such as grams, liters, degrees, lumens, etc.

As another example, in a recipe, the quantity is how much you need and the unit describes what you use to measure it. Three tablespoons and 3 teaspoons have the same quantity, but they use different units. It's important to note the units, whether it's in the lab or in the kitchen!

## Units in Science Versus Math

There are, however, other ways to answer the question of quantity versus unit. A quantity may be considered to be a nonspecific number of items, particularly ones that would be hard to count. You could refer to a "quantity of water" or a "quantity of air" and not cite the number of molecules or mass.

Additionally, units sometimes refer to individual sets. For example, if you are studying chemistry, you may have a unit on gases, a unit on conversions, and a unit on balancing equations. A set of rooms in an apartment building may also be called a unit. Any removable component in a piece of electronics may be called a unit as well. If the term "unit" is used this way, quantity can mean how many units you have. If you need 3 units of blood for a transfusion, the number three is the quantity, with each unit being a single container of blood.

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