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I know 草莓西瓜果泥 reads STRAWBERRY WATERMELON PUREE

Would this be acceptable too?

草 西 果
莓 瓜 泥

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  • Thank you, that is very helpful. Am I okay to split it into multiple rows as I have? (3 rows rather than 1 row).
    – user29720
    Nov 25, 2021 at 22:59
  • If it is a name of a single item, you should keep it together in one column if possible. On a full-page text, a single item's name or even a complete sentence can be broken up at the bottom of a column and continued at the top of the next column
    – Tang Ho
    Nov 25, 2021 at 23:39

3 Answers 3

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If you don't keep it in one column, the columns must run vertically from right to left, rather than from left to right. In vertical script, you start reading at the upper right corner, go down the column of characters, and then go to the next column on the left. It would like like this:

果西草

泥瓜莓

By the way, this would be true even if the column were only one character long (such as on a sign or banner), making it appear as if the line is written horizontally right to left in violation of the rules for horizontal writing. That would simply be the outcome of writing according to the rules for vertical writing.

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If your text editor has the option of using the vertical layout, you can do it.

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Format/ Make Layout Vertical

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I would say it’s acceptable, depending on the context of usage.

Traditional Chinese way of writing would be top-to-bottom right-to-left like Vegawatcher suggests.

But in reality I see way more occurrences of top-to-bottom left-to-right layout.

I can imagine if I see a 2x3 rectangle of 6 characters showing up on a poster or a menu, I probably would try to read it:

  1. left-to-right, top-to-bottom
  2. top-to-bottom, left-to-right
  3. top-to-bottom, right-to-left

In that orders. Even if this violates traditional writing rules, our modern mind is so accommodated to left-to-right writings that it’s actually harder to read right-to-left.

So I would say it really depends on the context. If other layout materials flow left-to-right, then you better go top-to-bottom then left-to-right for consistency. If you want to present visual element that relates to ancient China, you should go top-to-bottom then right-to-left.

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