Follow TV Tropes


On a Scale from One to Ten

Go To

"On a scale of one to ten, I'll give you a three!"

A character rates something on a scale from one to ten, often for comedic effect.

The results split into two types:

  • An actual number. It's sometimes oddly specific or, more often, doesn't fit the scale (as in, more than ten or less than one).
  • Not even a number (in which case it overlaps with Counting to Potato), or left unanswered for rhetorical reasons.

Compare Grade System Snark. A Sexiness Score is typically described this way (i.e. "She's a 10"). See also Top Ten List, for other things from one to ten, and Broke the Rating Scale when the results don't fit the scale. Contrast Four-Point Scale.

Examples of an actual number:

    open/close all folders 

  • From 2008 to 2011, Six Flags theme parks used a series of ads involving some boring, lame or stupid activity being ranked as "one flag" or sometimes "two flags" on a "fun-o-meter"; cut to footage of a Six Flags attraction — "Six Flags! More flags, more fun!" These ads originally featured an Asian man's head rating the activities, but after accusations that this man's portrayal was racist, he was instead replaced by Mr. Six, the famous dancing old man previously used by the company in 2004-05 (who could now speak), complete with his famously catchy theme music. A later wave of ads showed Mr. Six and his companion "Little Six" being involved in the boring activity, then both deciding to ditch it for Six Flags.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Super: In the Future Trunks Saga, Vegeta has a sparring match against Future Trunks to see how much the latter has improved since they last met; during the fight Vegeta performs a Facepalm of Doom attack while declaring "On a scale of one to ten, I'd give you a three!" This subsequently became one of Super Saiyan Blue Vegeta's special attacks in Dragon Ball FighterZ, even being named "On a scale of one to ten..."

    Comic Books 
  • In The Punisher MAX arc "Valley Forge, Valley Forge", this pops up on a taped interrogation of Rawlins by O'Brien and the Punisher.
    Rawlins: You're lovin' this shit, ain't you? Sweetie?
    O'Brien: Scale of one to ten, where ten is watching Castle cut your dick off? Two.
  • Doomguy of Doom, under the effect of a berserker pack, rates himself "12.0 on a 10.0 scale of badness".

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Aladdin:
    Iago (as Jafar): No, really. On a scale of one to ten, you are an eleven.
  • Baymax from Big Hero 6 was originally intended as a medical care bot. If you're injured, he will ask "On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?" as part of his diagnostic routine. Of course, any new bump you receive needs to be diagnosed separately.
    Baymax: On a scale of one to-(Ow) On a scale of(Ow) On a scale of(Ow) On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your pain?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Serendipity:
    "How drunk is he on a scale of one to ten?"
  • The title of 10 (1979) is based on this trope. Bo Derek is a "10" on a scale of one to ten.
  • Sarah Silverman once opened the MTV Movie Awards with a crack at 300.
    "It's named after the rating for how gay it was on a scale of one to ten."
  • The Devil's Advocate:
    Milton: Well, on a scale of one to ten, ten being the most depraved act of sexual theater known to man and one being the usual Friday night run-through at the Lomax household, I'd say, not to be immodest, Mary Ann and I got it on to about... seven.
  • In The Sum of All Fears, when the love interest is asked "Cute scale, one to ten" about Ben Affleck's character, she responds with, "Oh, I don’t know... twelve."

  • Adrian Mole asks his psychotherapist Leonora how mad he is.
    Adrian: How mad am I, on a scale from one to ten?
    Leonora: You're not mad at all. As Freud said, it is impossible for a therapist to treat either the mad, or the in love.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    "Mr. Garibaldi, on a scale of one to ten... just how stupid do you think I am?"
  • Family Feud often uses these questions in the Fast Money bonus round, because the distribution of answers makes it difficult to get a high score. Eight is a pretty common response though, except for questions where one or ten would be funnier.
  • Forever:
    • Henry, who has Resurrective Immortality, has a book in the pilot where he records his deaths, including rating pain levels on a scale from one to ten. Getting impaled through the chest by a broken handrail in a subway crash was rated a seven.
    • In "The Night In Question" Lucas asks if Jo and Henry are an item now, declaring they would automatically be his favorite couple ever, before ruining it by suggesting if Jo has "any hot friends" they could double date, but "I'm only interested in Eights or above!"
  • Friends: Chandler snarked at Joey who was over thirty and thought he could pull a teenager on a commercial.
    Chandler: Yes, on a scale from one to ten, ten being the dumbest a person can look, you are definitely nineteen.
  • How I Met Your Mother, episode "Wait For It": Barney evaluates women's hotness on a scale which is implicitly from one to ten. The aim is to find a woman hotter than Robin so that Ted would "win" the breakup.
    Barney: Tonight we're gonna get you someone way hotter than Robin. OK, Robin's a ten. Fine. We'll get you a twelve. Or, you know, two sixes. Failing that, three fours. And break glass in case of emergency, we'll go to Staten Island, I'll get you twelve ones.
  • An episode of NCIS has Tony visiting a website called "", and his teammates get in on the tush-judging. Ziva gives McGee a 4/5, and Tony only gets a 2.
  • Selfie, the boss Saperstein asks his employees to rate how close they feel to each other, trying to encourage closeness among his work family. Eliza gets a zero from a coworker (and zoned out on her phone during the meeting anyway) and spends the rest of the episode trying to work on fixing that. During his own work friendship hijinks, Henry ends up getting a zero as well (causing Eliza to butt in and elbow him, laughing that they got the same) By the end, she tells Henry she feels a six for him, and he says a 4.7, rounding up to 5, showing their growing closeness.

  • Parodied: In the "Bullseye" section of Entertainment Weekly Issue #1481 (Sept. 29, 2017), the arrow put a miss on Jane Fonda's appearance at the 2017 Emmy Awards' Red Carpet, saying, "On a scale of 9 to 5, we give this look a 3."

  • Usher's "Yeah" included the lyric:
    "Cause on a one-to-ten she's a certified twenty"
  • StevenWright's song Friends of Mine has the lyric:
    "You think that maybe, maybe I'm crazy/ On a scale of one to ten, six being the highest"

    Newspaper Comics 
  • This Garfield strip:
    Dog: Bark! Bark! Bark!
    Garfield: On a scale of one to ten, I give it a seven.
    Dog: Oh, come on!
    Garfield: I've seen you more crazed, and you didn't do that bloodshot-eyeballs thing.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has the informal "Storm Scale", rating how unlikely it would be for a specific mechanic to return. It started when someone posted a question to lead designer Mark Rosewater's blog on whether the "storm" keyword would return, and Mark replied that it probably wouldn't because it was so broken; emphasizing the point by saying it would rank a 10 on a "not coming back" scale. Naturally, readers started asking more questions on where other mechanics would land on that scale. Mark has since refined the scale and used it in his Making Magic column to evaluate of mechanics of various blocks.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 

  • xkcd's "Pain Rating" has a guy with a really hurting arm visiting the doctor, being asked how he would rate the pain on a scale of one to ten, with ten being "the worst pain you can imagine." The guy thought for a moment, before shuddering in horror and answering "One."
  • In Exterminatus Now, Harold gives his invaluable strategical analysis.
  • Paranatural has this.
    Max: Your grin was at least an 8.3 on the international scale of creepy.
    Alt Text: That lamp clocks in at a solid 7.6.
  • In this strip from El Goonish Shive, when Jerry hears discussion of teenagers experimenting with magical technology for fun:
    Jerry: I don't have enough information to conclude how concerned I should be. One to ten it for me.
    Susan: Three. Her boyfriend knows what he's doing in his lab, and his dad's the former head of the local paranormal division of the government.
  • In Freefall, Raibert puts disasters on a scale of 1 to 10. And nothing's ever a ten.

    Western Animation 
  • At the end of the Adventure Time episode "Wizard Battle", the Ice King asks Finn and Jake to rate his new sunglasses.
    Ice King: On a scale of one to ten, one being like totally gross, ten being like "Dang, Ice King, you look crazy sick!".
  • In one episode of Chowder, Ceviche asks the rate of Panini's desperation when she feels threatened by another girl (Marmalade) that Chowder became friends with. Panini's answer? Eleven.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Marge gets her bag stolen and refuses to leave her home. The family escort her outside, while she tells how much fear she feels, and after Homer angers a swarm of bees, she starts going above ten.
  • Muppet Babies (1984):
    • From "Musical Muppets", when Kermit is selling a song to Piggy, who is playing a country singer.
    "I don't know quite how to tell you this, Kermit, but on a scale of one to ten, that song was... minus twelve! It's horrible!!"
    • In "The Daily Muppet", Piggy writes a review of The Phantom of the Opera for the titular newspaper. She concludes her review by saying that on a scale of one to ten, she gives the film a minus three.
  • In the Rocket Power episode "Bruised Man's Curve", Otto returns to the Shore Shack after a painful day of training on the titular mountain board course. When Sam asks Otto to rate his pain on a scale from 1 to 10, Otto replies, "12."

    Real Life 
  • Earthquake intensity is reported using the Moment Magnitude Scale which for the most part runs up to 10. As it is a logarithmic scale it is theoretically possible to hit or even exceed a ten on the scale, there are serious doubts to whether any fault system on the earth has enough energy potential to ever do so.
  • Healthcare professionals often ask patients to rate their pain on a one to ten scale. This is because research has shown a tendency for more consistency in ratings when asked to rate it on a scale, as opposed to just describing it. This is because people vary quite a bit in their abilities to tolerate pain.

Examples of non-numbers:

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 
  • Inside Out:
    Disgust: On a scale of one to ten, I give this day an F.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    "How'd it go?"
    "On a scale of one to ten? It sucked."
  • Bottom:
    Richie: How's it looking, Eddie?
    Eddie: On a scale of one to ten, I'd say it's bicycle clip time.
  • Dirty Jobs did this in one bumper asking the viewers for ideas, as part of a Hurricane of Puns:
    Mike Rowe: So, on a scale of one to ten, I'd say these dirty jobs... kicked my bass. And that's no carp.

  • AsteroidQuest had this exchange at the end of the first intermission, with Polo and Rokoa being treated for serious wounds and burns:
    Polo: On a scale of 1 to that one QI I exploded the shotgun of, how do we look?
    Rokoa: QI and a half, at the start. We've moved down to half a QI.
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki:
    "On a scale from one to bad, this is pretty fucked up."
  • Ménage à 3:
    "On a scale from one to ten, how fired am I?" note 
  • Schlock Mercenary brings us this:
    Kevyn: Well, on a scale of "that's not free checking" to "heat death of the universe," I'd say we're looking at "the enemy has a super-weapon we can't track."
  • Paranatural also has one of these: "On a scale of yes to no? Yes."
  • Between Failures #402:
    "On a scale from zero to fucked, how much trouble am I in, do you think?"
    "Uhm... like, a handjob, I guess. I'm not sure I understand the scale."
    "No. I think you've got it..."
  • In Faux Pas, on a scale of one to ten, Randy is Wile E. Coyote.
  • In MS Paint Masterpieces, Heat Man offers this insight while observing a Harmony-infected Fire Man.
    "Wow. On the retard scale of 1 to 10, this guy's a J."
  • In Questionable Content, Aurelia texts her daughter Claire inviting her to come over because Aurelia needs to tell Claire something. Claire responds, "On a scale of "I took a pottery class" to "I have a terminal illness", how worried should I be?" (Aurelia's fine.)

    Web Original 
  • In Worm, when Noelle breaks out from her cell in Chapter 16.13:
    Skitter: On a scale of one to ten, just how bad is this?
    Tattletale: Let me answer your question with another question. You think we could convince the PRT to turn on the air raid sirens?
  • Voltz (Yogscast): In the infamous Voltz incident (after Sips_ and Sjin set off a red matter bomb), Lewis was sent to rate the level of destruction.
    Lewis: Um... [beat] ...What the holy shit is this...? Guys??
    Simon: How bad?
    Lewis: This is really bad. This is so bad.
    Simon: Out of a scale of one to ten, how bad is it?
    Lewis: Uh-This is horrendous! FUUUUUUCK!! What th-What the shit do I do?

    Western Animation 
  • Johnny Bravo:
    • Johnny gets scaled on how he does at picking up girls, rated by Luke Perry no less.
    Luke Perry: Well Johnny, on a scale of one to ten... you're an idiot.
    • Also while flirting with Caesar's wife, he says, "On a scale of one to ten, you're an X."

  • Cybraphon is a moody computerized band housed in a modified wardrobe. Its mood ranges from "delirium" to "desolation" depending on how popular it isnote  and how many people are watching it at the time,note  which in turn affects the music it plays.
  • A popular copy pasta has this formula, generally with no numerical values and a esoteric measure for added humour. Usually in the format of "On a scale of Matilda to Carrie, how well did you handle have psychic powers and abusive parents?"
    • One that originated in the Game of Thrones fandom: "On a scale of Sansa to Ned Stark, how good are you at keeping a secret?" (Ned Stark took the secret of Jon's birth to his grave, Sansa spilled as soon as she learned it).