How to Use Slashes
There are two different types of slashes. Only the forward slash—/—is used in writing, and it does have a few different uses.
One of the common uses is to break up lines of poetry, songs or plays if you don’t add an actual new line.
He said hello / She said hello / They both said hello.
This could also be written like this:
He said hello/ She said hello/ They both said hello.
The slashes in each case indicate that it could also be written like this:
He said hello
She said hello
They both said hello.
The above example is the only instance where you would put spaces around a slash—either before and after or just after.
Another use is instead of the word or.
His/her, either/or, and/or.
There are not spaces either side of the slash, this is a mistake that I see quite a lot. It shouldn’t be either / or, it should be either/or.
From time to time, slashes can be used as an abbreviation, for example 24/7 or w/e (for ‘week ending’).
The final use is to show some kind of opposition between two things such as the pro-life/pro-choice debate or stay/go. Finally, slashes can also be used when things have a non-opposed connection like a home-office/bedroom or a sofa/bed.
Slashes are not uncommon in all forms of writing and despite the simple rules they are often used incorrectly. The only time there should be any spaces anywhere near a slash is when using them as a line break indicator.
© 2019 Davina Chime
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Davina Chime is a Thanet-born hopeless romantic.