A rating of 70 % is percentual (is that the correct English adjective for percentages!?). What is the value called when the rating is a 7 (out of 10)? I'm searching for the adjective.

A little background: The user can choose which type he enters on a website and I need to label the options in a dropdown.

  • 1
    So I enter a number in a textbox, and to the right of the box is a dropdown menu with the unit? Wouldn't a noun work better? For example, Percent (0-100) or % (1-100) and [On a] 1-10 scale or Rating (1-10) -- That way you could prompt to help ensure valid entries.
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 2 at 18:27
  • If you don’t know the user won’t either. You need visual examples not words. I’ll send you a bill for my consultancy fee in the morning.
    – David
    Aug 2 at 18:36

7 out of 10 is an example of a numerical or numeric rating. The adjective refers to the fact that the value is a simple numeral, rather than relying on words (e.g. verbal scale), symbols (star rating), percentages, or other forms.

Here are some examples of the adjective in use:

Numerical rating scales are based on the assumption that there is a true zero-point and may be presented graphically as lines [...] or boxes [...] with their boundaries clearly defined as the extremes of the feeling from "none" to "worst possible" (Pruritus [dermatology book describing a numerical scale for pain after having described a verbal scale, 2010)

Categorical variables may be inherently categorical (such as political party affiliation), with no numeric scale underlying their measurement, or they may be created by categorizing a continuous or discrete variable (Statistics in a Nutshell [statistics book defining some categorical variables as non-numeric], 2012)

And this is a snapshot from Textbook of Nursing Education giving examples of three kinds of rating scales. The "Numerical Rating Scale" uses numbers tied to a value:

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  • Aren't Likert and percentages both numerical scales? Percentage-- A rate, number, or amount in each hundred. (Lexico)
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 2 at 17:03
  • @DjinTonic My understanding is that the Likert scale is only sometimes a numerical scale, since the options it actually offers users can be only words, e.g., "Strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree." It is only on the back end that items on the scale are assigned numerical value. Meanwhile, a percentage involves a number, but is distinct from using a simple numeral or numerical rating because percent is always out of 100, whereas a numerical rating can be out of any number - 4, 5, 8, 10, 20, 50, 100, 1000 ... Aug 3 at 13:58
  • That's true. All the more reason that numerical IMO isn't suitable. I was referring to the OP's case where it is. So in general, either numerical doesn't apply to the Likert option, or, if it does, it wouldn't serve to distinguish a percentage from a Likert choice.
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 3 at 16:02
  • @DjinTonic OP's case isn't a Likert. Aug 3 at 19:05
  • It is numerical: "rating is a 7 (out of 10)?" It's not a percentage -- the OP is asking what we can call it. Wanting an adjective only complicates it, IMO.
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 3 at 19:14

What is the value called when the rating is a 7 (out of 10)?

Seven what out of 10? Marks/points/correct answers? - This will tell you what "7" is.

Otherwise, it is an ordinal scale

In the alternative, we have the "moh scale" for measuring the hardness of minerals. The scale is arbitrary and varies from 1 to 10. Talcum is 1#, Diamonds are ten. This is known as "a qualitative ordinal scale."

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness (/moʊz/) is a qualitative ordinal scale, from 1 to 10, characterizing scratch resistance of various minerals through the ability of harder material to scratch softer material.

#in practice, it now starts at 0.2


A range for choices is called a Likert Scale.

A Likert scale is a close-ended, forced-choice scale used in a questionnaire that provides a series of answers that go from one extreme to another. For example, a scale might have five choices that start at one end with "strongly agree" and end at the other with "strongly disagree," with less extreme choices in the middle three points. Likert scales are widely used in psychology and other social science research.

It bears some attention that the scale (when used for econometrics or statistics) must be directional (like "strongly disagree," "disagree," "neither agree nor disagree," "agree," "strongly agree"). A Likert scale can't refer to non-directional choices (like "red," "blue," "green").

  • It'd be more accurate to say that a range of choices is a scale or a rating scale. A Likert scale is one example of a rating scale (specific for psychometrics), but there are others: a 1-10 rating scale, a Verbal Rating Scale, and so on. Aug 2 at 14:12
  • @TaliesinMerlin I don't disagree. Please feel free to offer "scale" or "rating scale" as your broader answer.
    – rajah9
    Aug 2 at 14:37

level (of satisfaction, disagreement, etc.)/unitary (scale)

You could refer to individual values, choices, or perhaps responses. Some scales have units (e.g., Rotten Tomatoes); however, in general a rating scale does not. Individual scales may have an implicit label: Rate your satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. I would say the values on these types of scales are usually unitless. As the other answer explains, we refer to the range or scale of, say, 1-10. So range of values for the collective.

For the dimension of Likert scales, I see level of agreement/disagreement used, since the scale is often used to measure agreement/disagreement with a statement. This explanation of the types of Likert scales (nominal, ordinal, etc.) may give you other suggestions.

The pH scale gives values as high as one-tenth (10-1) of a mole of hydrogen ions per liter, to values as low as one hundred-trillionth (10-14/) moles per liter. ref

On the whole, a Likert item is simply a statement that the respondent is asked to evaluate by giving it a quantitative value on any kind of objective dimension, with a level of agreement and/or disagreement being the dimension most commonly used. ref.

The scale should be able to differentiate between the levels of satisfaction on the various elements in the scale. Job Satisfaction Scales for Effective Management

EA's answer prompted me to look for an adjective, if that is a necessity for the OP:

The Fatigue Severity Scale consists of nine items rated on a Likert-type ... The Fatigue Severity Scale is considered an [sic] unitary scale while the Fatigue Impact Scale is multidimensional. Fundamentals of Sleep Technology (2007) p.420

This scale measures the learners' preference for well-ordered vs. ambiguous approaches to solving problems and managing details (12 items; Likert-type 6-point scale). This is a unitary scale (sample items: “I don't like situations that ... Performance Improvement Quarterly (2006) p.71


The only adjective I've found that is even a reasonable fit is gradational.

Wiktionary lists the required sense second in its listing:

gradational ...

  • By regular steps or gradations.
  • Of or pertaining to gradation.

where the relevant sense of the noun gradation is

grading: arrange[ment] in a scale or series [Merriam-Webster]

  • unitary might also work if it has to be an adjective. 1a: of or relating to a unit b: based on or characterized by unity or units (m-w)
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 2 at 15:59
  • That's hardly even ball-park. Aug 2 at 16:14
  • And yet it's used for Likert scales, e.g "As noted earlier, if we are using a Likert-type response scale, ... since a unitary scale can report a high alpha coefficient even if it actually has an ..."
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 2 at 16:26
  • The adjective might be Likert-like-like. Aug 2 at 16:29
  • Hmm, not Likertly.
    – DjinTonic
    Aug 2 at 16:34

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