Which is right? right to left or right-to-left?

The same question goes for left to right and left-to-right

Can't find this in any dictionary I use.

Context: the way the text is written is usually left-to-right. But there are also right-to-left languages.

  • 1
    You need to provide context; either could be correct - but it is very definitely context-dependent. – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 5 '18 at 15:42
  • @JeffZeitlin added context – Oksi Feb 5 '18 at 15:51
  • 2
    Please include the research you’ve done. Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. Here, a Google search shows that both are used predicatively. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 5 '18 at 16:49
  • Ngram shows the non-hyphened style is far more common.books.google.com/ngrams/… – Nigel J Feb 5 '18 at 17:06

For the context given, the provided example is correct by convention - “left-to-right” and “right-to-left” are being used as ‘unitary’ adjectives, describing how a language is written (e.g., the Latin alphabet is used for left-to-right languages; the Arabic and Hebrew abjads are used for right-to-left languages).

  • In which cases should it be used without hyphens, then? – Oksi Feb 5 '18 at 16:39
  • When it is not being used as a descriptor, it should probably be used without the hyphens: "To cast your vote in a mechanical voting booth, move the large lever from right to left." – Jeff Zeitlin Feb 5 '18 at 16:40

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