A slash or slant or solidus or virgule [ / ] (take your pick of names) is used to indicate a choice between the words it separates.

The slash can be translated as or and should not be used where the word or could not be used in its place. To avoid gender problems with pronouns, some writers use he/she, his/her, and him/her. Many authorities despise that construction and urge writers either to pluralize when possible and appropriate (to they, their, them) or to use he or she, etc. instead. Notice there is no space between the slash and the letters on either side of it.

There is, however, a space when the slash is used to indicate a line-break in quoted poetry: "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep / but I have promises to keep." (This way of quoting poetry is limited to four or five lines of verse, within the normal flow of text.)

When using slashes in a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for a World Wide Web address (http://www.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/), be especially sure not to include spaces and not to confuse the slash with its backward cousin, \, used as a path separator in Windows (for example, c:\program files\Adobe).

QuizQuizzes on Punctuation Marks

period || question mark || exclamation mark || colon || semicolon || hyphen || dash
parentheses || brackets || ellipsis || apostrophe || quotation marks || comma || slash