Slash Punctuation

Rules and Examples


Punctuation marksSlash punctuation ( / ) is a form of punctuation used when writing in the English language.

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The slash can also be called a virgule, forward slash, slant, oblique dash or diagonal.

On the keyboard

Make a slash on the computer by pressing the question mark/slash key to the left of the SHIFT key.

Rules for using slash punctuation

1. Use slashes to separate parts of ןnternet (web) addresses and file names for some computer programs.

Examples:
  • http://www.really-learn-english.com/esl-ebooks.html

  • C:/Program Files/Windows

  • E:/Word Files/articles/fish

    man on computer

2. Use slashes for fractions

Examples:
  • 2/3 = two-thirds

  • 1/2 = one-half

  • 7/8 = seven-eighths

3. Use a slash to separate the day, month, and year in dates

Examples:

A) American English = Month/Day/Year
calendar
  • 11/16/12 (November 16, 2012)

  • 3/17/1981 (March 17, 1981)

  • 10/05 (October 5)
B) British English = Day/Month/Year
  • 16/11/12 (November 16, 2012)

  • 17/3/1980 (March 17, 1981)

  • 05/10 (October 5)


4. Use a slash for some abbreviations

Examples:
  • w/o = without

  • n/a or N/A = not applicable or not available

  • R/C = radio control

  • c/o = in care of (We use this when mailing packages or letters to someone at another person's address.)

    John Smith
    c/o Richard Jones
    1023 Main Street
    Wichita, KS 67860
    mail delivery

5. Use a slash to show the word "or"

We sometimes use slash punctuation to indicate the word "or" between two choices.

This use of the slash is rare and should be used only in informal writing.

Examples:
  • Each child will take his/her science project home tonight.

    Each child will take his or her science project home tonight.


  • Please proofread/rewrite the story before tomorrow. 

    Please proofread or rewrite the story before tomorrow.

  • Dear Secretary/Treasurer,

    Dear Secretary or Treasurer,


6. Use a slash to show the word "per" in measurements

Examples:fast car
  • $3.87/gallon = Three dollars and eighty-seven cents per gallon 

  • 150 lbs/day = 150 pounds a day or 150 pounds per day

  • 80 miles/hour = 80 miles per hour


7. Use a slash to separate lines of poetry or rhymes in regular text

When a poem is written in a regular block of text, we use a slash to show line breaks.

Here is a popular, short rhyme written in poetry form:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

If this rhyme is written as a normal block of text, we use slashes to show line breaks. Keep all other punctuation the same and add one space before and after each slash.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, / How I wonder what you are. / Up above the world so high, / Like a diamond in the sky.

star

The backslash ( \ )

The backslash is the reverse form of the forward slash discussed in the lesson above.

It is not a form of English punctuation.

It should not be used in place of the forward slash.

The backslash is mainly used in computer file names, especially in Windows.

Examples:
  • C:\Program Files\Windows

  • E:\Word Files\articles\fish


On the keyboard

Make a backslash on the computer by pressing the slash key above ENTER.


These were the uses of slash punctuation. Now that you know them, it is time to practice! Read and do exercises.

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