standards of excellence or excellent standards

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Senior Member
The Firm's standards of excellence include creating a favorable impression with clients.

does standards of excellence mean
1. excellent standards? or
2. standards the firm maintains to be excellent among other firms ?

how would you rephrase it?

  • Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    In your context most English speakers wouild be confused if you said that a firm had excellent standards. Standards of excellence would be thought of as the standards set by someone other than the firm itself. Excellent standards would b e thought of as standards which the firm set for itself, perhaps better or not as good as the industry.


    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I would think it would be the opposite of what Harry said. I think "standards of excellence" implies standards they have set for themselves, and "excellent standards" are standards set by an outside party.

    Actually the more I think about it it seems that "standards of excellence" could mean standards that are necessary to be considered "excellent", whereas "excellent standards" just defines the word "standard", meaning their standards are excellent, or generally very nice.


    English -- Mid-America
    When I copy-edit, I make the first victims passive voice and the second ones prepositional phrases.

    But "Standard of Excellence" has become a term of art in business writing.

    It presumes the enterprise aspires or achieves qualities accepted as "excellent" throughout the industry.

    "Excellence Standards" seems like a more iffy situation.

    Perhaps because it comes off as an almost oxymoron; is it "standard" or is it "excellence?"
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