If I were to describe the words left, right, front and back, I could say, those are positions.

But what if I need to divide those into smaller groups: left and right, front and back?

How could I describe those smaller groups?

  • As I re-read your question, I'm not sure I understand it. Are you asking about more specific things like "front left", or for something that includes, say, both "front" and "back"? – stangdon May 5 '16 at 19:23
  • I think this question could be much improved by an example showing how you're going to use these words. If I want to be generic, the most obvious choice would be calling them the left-right group and the front-back group. – Damkerng T. May 6 '16 at 6:47

It depends in part what you're describing and if there is already a pattern established for such positions, for example, in anatomy, anteromedial combines front and center.

But assuming there is no pattern, I would use the usual adjective suggestions: use the main adjective and modify it with the other.

On a written page, we usually describe something's placement as in the "upper left corner" rather than "left upper corner". For a crowded room, I would use front left, rear left, front right, rear right.

On the other hand, describing pockets, the side usually comes first: left front pocket, right front pocket, etc.

So, the context of what position you're trying to refer to matters.

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Your smaller groupings are in opposite directions along an axis.
"Up" and "down" would also be considered to be polar opposite directions in the same way.

In a Cartesian coordinate system, these would be along the x-, y-, and z-axis.


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