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I am writing a research paper with three scenarios. The first is called "the inflexible", the second is "the flexible", and the third is between them. I have difficulty to find a term for it. I thought about words "standard", "normal", and "ordinary", but they also imply that the other two cases are not standard or normal, which is not the case. The words "median", "intermediate" or "mean" also do not sound very well. Can anyone help me with this?

  • Can you provide a scenario example? They are scenarios of what, precisely? – A.P. Oct 19 '15 at 7:45
  • In the flexible case, changing the capacity of production requires building new facility, thus incurring very high cost. In the inflexible case, changing the capacity just need a reconfiguration of current production line. The third case is somewhere in between. – Justin Oct 19 '15 at 15:56
  • I don't think flexible and inflexible are good choices for the first and third scenarios, as you describe them. A reconfiguration of the current production line could require more flexibility and innovation than building a new facility. But, does the high cost option offer potentially higher returns? I suggest you rename your options to reflect cost, or potential returns. or risk, or time needed to implement. Addition: I just now read AP's Answer, and agree with it. – ab2 Oct 19 '15 at 19:43
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    "changing the capacity just need a reconfiguration of current production line" perfectly fits the idea of flexibility. @Justin: Did you made an inversion in your above comment ? – Graffito Oct 19 '15 at 20:23
  • Consider renaming your titles as "low flexibility", "high flexibility" and "medium flexibility". – Graffito Oct 19 '15 at 20:28
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Semiflexible is the word to consider as it means:

Somewhat flexible [Merriam-Webster]

Partially flexible (and partially rigid) [Wiktionary]

You can also consider using "moderately flexible" as moderate means:

Tending toward the mean or average amount or dimension

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In the flexible case, changing the capacity of production requires building a new facility, thus incurring a very high cost. In the inflexible case, just a reconfiguration of the current production line is required. The third case is somewhere in between.

Based on the above-mentioned context you provided in comments, here's an idea.

If your analysis is based on investment or cost, then it stands to reason to use the appropriate nouns. I believe that would help make your message more clear.

For example:

High-investment scenario. This involves building a new production facility, thus incurring a very high cost.

Low-investment scenario. In this scenario, only a reconfiguration of the current production line is required.

Medium-investment scenario requires purchasing new equipment and certifying new personnel.

You can likewise use high-cost, medium-cost, and low- or zero-cost scenarios.

It seems these alternatives fit the context well, if I understood your situation correctly.

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  • I posted a comment along these lines before I read your Answer. This is good advice. Except that the idea of return or risk is missing. But there is just so much one can get in a title. – ab2 Oct 19 '15 at 19:48
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As suggested above, either go with semiflexible or choose a neutral word for the middle category (eg. standard, default, non-specialized, etc).

The other option is to use words that denote varying degrees of flexibility: static (not flexible), plastic (can tolerate some flexibility), and elastic (flexible enough to shape and reshape).

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