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I have a question regarding a caption I'm writing for a photograph. For the sake of this example, the sentence has to communicate this device can read many different types of text.

So, which is more correct:

Improve efficiency and quickly read high-variability, user-presented text with (technology)

Improve efficiency and quickly read highly-variable, user-presented codes with (technology).

The former was my first attempt, but a coworker requested the latter. Not sure which is correct at this point. Can someone point me in the right direction and explain your reasoning - I'm thinking its an adverb disagreement, but can't quite put my finger on it.

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    Just opinion: somewhere between the two: "read highly variable, user-presented text". Apr 18, 2023 at 18:55
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    This is a good suggestion, thank you!
    – J.Bates
    Apr 18, 2023 at 19:49
  • I don't think either "high-variability text" or "highly-variable text" are very idiomatic. What are they supposed to mean? What is varying - the language, the prose style, the size, the colour, the font, and why does it change from text to codes? If it's e.g. the font then I would say "a wide range of fonts".
    – Stuart F
    Apr 18, 2023 at 22:38

2 Answers 2

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Out of the nine most common nominal forms constructed with these modifiers, in seven cases the adjective form is prferred, in one case there is no marked preference ("highly variable index", "high variability index") in one case the noun is not found ("high variable characteristics"). It can't be said that one is more correct than the other, but the adjectival construction is much preferred.

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  • A lot of work for a single vote. Jul 20, 2023 at 14:39
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High-variability is what appears to be correct:

“High variability means that the values are less consistent, so it's harder to make predictions. Data sets can have the same central tendency but different levels of variability or vice versa.“

I’m assuming that if it needs to read different types of text, then there will probably be a high-variability in the text it needs to read. As in, there would be many different types of text that need to be read.

Source: https://www.scribbr.com/statistics/variability/#matter

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  • Thank you for the answer!
    – J.Bates
    Apr 18, 2023 at 19:49

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