Slash - Definition, Uses with Examples

Slash – Definition, Uses with Examples

In our quest to learn the important punctuation marks we use in English to spice up our writings and make sense to our readers, we shall consider another interesting punctuation mark in this post tagged, Slash – Definition, Uses with Examples.

Slash – Definition, Uses with Examples

Let us begin by defining this mark and then proceed to look at its numerous uses with some examples…

What is a Slash?

The slash, (/), is a type of punctuation mark that is used to separate optional items in a list or to express fractions or division and which has various uses in computer programming. Karen Yin provides various nomenclatures by which the slash goes by. These include:

  • a diagonal
  • virgule
  • solidus
  • slant
  • stroke
  • oblique stroke
  • separatrix
  • shilling mark
  • forward slash

Forward slash is a retronym which seeks to distinguish the slash [/] from the backslash [\].

The slash is one of the punctuation marks that has various uses. Let us see some of its uses…

Uses of Slash

There are quite some uses to which we can deploy the slash. Let us see some of them:

To Differentiate between Two Co-referential Terms

We use a slash to differentiate between two somewhat co-referential terms that we can use the coordinating conjunction ‘or’ to represent or replace as we have in these examples:

  • We should give to him/her.
  • The sexes, male/female, should have equal chance.
  • A polar question is a yes/no question.
  • We call it full stop/period.

To Show Alternative Elements, Words or Phrases

For example:

  • I am Dr./Chief/Mrs./Mr./Ms./Miss/………………………………
  • He refused to work with children and/or animals.
  • Please place unwanted clothes/toys/books in the box.

To Separate Poetic Lines in Poetry

In Poetry, a slash is used to separate poetic lines when we write them in blocks of text and not in verses.  For example:

  • Twinkle, twinkle, little star, /How I wonder what you are! /Up above the world so high, / Like a diamond in the sky!
  • If music be the food of love, play on, / Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, / The appetite may sicken and so die.
  • The world is too much with us; late and soon, / Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: / Little we see in Nature that is ours.
  • Had we but world enough, and time, / This coyness, Lady, were no crime. / We would sit down, and think which way / To walk, and pass our long Love’s Day. / Thou by the Indian Ganges side / Should’st rubies find: I by the tide / Of Humber would complain. I would / Love you ten years before the Flood, / And you should, if you please, refuse / Till the conversion of the Jews.

In Computing or Programming

The slash (/) is called a forward slash to distinguish it from the backslash (\), which is used for specific purposes, e.g., to show the location of a computer file or document: c:\desktop\recent\things to do. Internet locations usually have forward slashes.

The Slash Could Denote “to” or “between”

For instance:

  • He graduated in the academic year 2007/2008;
  • The teacher harped upon the parent/child relationship.

Rule for Using Spaces with Slashes

Oftentimes, we normally do not accommodate spaces on either side of the slash. This is especially true for unique or inflexible constructions like directory paths and filenames, where the use of the slash is a matter of necessity and not just style.

Exception: Open Compounds

If one or both of the terms separated by the slash consist of two or more words, a space before and after the slash may aid comprehension.

In Summary

This post has focused on the slash and its various uses which can be summarised below:

  • Providing alternatives
  • Adding
  • Abbreviating
  • Separating
  • Joining
  • With fractions – 25/100
  • In Internet addresses (URLs) and pathnames
  • To signify or and/or
  • In descriptive phrases such as 24/7 or 9/11
  • Between lines of quoted poetry
  • In the signoff (credit) in photo captions
  • With two-year spans, e.g., 1991/92 (instead of an en dash)
  • In abbreviations, e.g., N1000/hour (instead of per) and c/o (instead of a period)
  • With dates (informal), e.g., 6/1/11, 7/11/94
  • To stand for “per” at the rate of N145/litre

You can check out other punctuation marks that I have also put together for your reading pleasure. Do not forget to share this knowledge and connect with us on our Social Media platforms. It is just a click away. See you around.

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