Editor’s Note: Gary Blake, director of The Communication Workshop, contributed this article. Blake is also the author of “The Elements of Business Writing.”

People are forever using the phrase, “On a scale from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least…” because it offers a range by which the listener or reader can judge the relative importance of a particular example.

Yet, in writing, which claims professionals engage in as much or more than professional writers, there is no accepted criteria by which we can universally judge a particular document as being excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. This is because rating writing skills is more subjective than, say, the scientific manner in which earthquakes are measured by the Richter magnitude scale. 

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