"The patient was evaluated on ***/***/***, for a right-greater-than-left
leg swelling the last three weeks."
One response to this explains the "Hyphens get called into play in a situation where a word that is NOT an adverb is used to modify an adjective, adjectival phrase, or word that
functions as an adjective. "........and goes on to say......."Only adverbs can "legally" modify an adjective. When we force a non-adverb to modify an adjective, hyphenation is required. In your example, the phrase "right greater than left" functions as a modifier of "leg" which is
functioning as an adjective modifying swelling. So, it is actually proper to hyphenate the phrase. "
Thanks for any responses...
ADJECTIVES FORMED FROM TWO OR MORE WORDS
right-wing groups (but the right wing of the party)
public-sector borrowing requirement
a 70-year-old judge
value-added tax (VAT)
Adverbs do not need to be linked to participles or adjectives by hyphens in simple constructions:
The regiment was ill equipped for its task.
The principle is well established.
Though expensively educated, the journalist knew no grammar.
But if the adverb is one of two words together being used adjectivally, a hyphen may be needed:
The ill-equipped regiment was soon repulsed.
All well-established principles should be periodically challenged.
The hyphen is especially likely to be needed if the adverb is short and common, such as ill, little, much and well. Less-common adverbs, including all those that end -ly, are less likely to need hyphens: Never employ an expensively educated journalist.
Do not overdo the literary device of hyphenating words that are not usually linked: the stringing-together-of-lots-and-lots-of-words-and-ideas tendency can be tiresome.
Looking for ESL work?: Try our EFL / TOEFL / ESL Jobs Section!
I feel that if your phrase 'right greater than left' can be think of as a phrase that has a legitimate meaning and it shows that, then I cannot imagine why it cannot be hyphenated and assume its place as an adjectival phrase. Of course, others might offer different opinions.