I want to express that an entity has different levels of quality concerning some criterion and these levels are ordered. For an example, I have five different levels:

Entity X is of

  1. high quality
  2. medium quality
  3. limited quality
  4. restricted quality
  5. no quality

I am unsure about the ordering of limited/restricted.

Can limited/restricted be used to make a difference in this context or do they mean the same?

Is there a better choice of words that refer to minor (less than medium) quality, but which can be ordered in the above fashion?

  • Those two words are only tangentially related; they are not degrees on a scale.
    – Robusto
    Jan 29, 2013 at 13:25
  • It's difficult to tell what is being asked here? Oh really? I'd say the question is quite explicit. It can't see how to clarify it even more to reopen it. Does anybody who understands better than me what kind of questions can be asked here have a suggestion?
    – joergl
    Jan 30, 2013 at 9:02

3 Answers 3


Limited and restricted mean close to the same thing. Any differences are in nuance, or related to particular senses.

If there were some domain-related special meaning to them, then that would be fine, but otherwise they don't make a lot of sense put into such an ordinal relationship.

Low isn't being used, are you avoiding it on purpose?

Very lets you add in very low and very high.

Medium-low would be understood as between medium and low, likewise with medium-high.

  • I am not avoiding low on purpose, it just did not come to my mind. But obviously it fits well here, thanks! Also, relativizing the adjectives might be the way to go for me.
    – joergl
    Jan 29, 2013 at 13:46

You might wish to add a higher category above "high" instead of trying to differentiate between limited and restricted, which are more or less synonyms. Perhaps

  1. Highest Quality
  2. High Quality
  3. Medium Quality
  4. Limited Quality
  5. No Quality

If I saw that one choice was a "limited" choice, and the other choice was a "restricted" choice, I would have no idea which was supposed to be higher without first seeing the actual list.

  • Thanks, that is a good idea! However, I would rather be more distinctive at the lower end of the scale. For my concrete problem, it's basically fine if something is above medium (i.e. high), but I need to be more precise at the lower end.
    – joergl
    Jan 29, 2013 at 13:51

Limited and restricted are too similar in meaning to be used in the way you want.

Other rating systems use [from a Google image search]:

  • Extraordinary; excellent; very good; good; fair; poor (i.e., 5 to zero);
  • Luxury; great; good; ok; bad (i.e., 5 to 1)

One has to ask why you are not simply using stars, which is universally understood.


  • Thanks for the additional rating systems! However they focus on the higher end of the scale, and as I commented on Marcus_33's answer, I rather need distinctiveness at the lower end. The star rating is also nice, but I would like to use plain english :)
    – joergl
    Jan 29, 2013 at 13:55
  • Perhaps the most famous labellings on a Likert-type scale are: Outstanding; Exceeds Expectations; Acceptable; Poor; Dreadful; Troll. Jan 29, 2013 at 20:41

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