The SLASH! & how to use it correctly Mini-Lesson #95.1 Created by Ashley Massie April 2012
MEET THE SLASH aka the forward slash, the virgule, the oblique, the separatrix, the slant, the solidus, the shilling mark, and, in England, the stroke.
There are two main uses for the slash • to separate interchangeable alternatives • and to divide lines of quoted poetry or verse
Using the slash to separate alternatives • Examples: and/or, he/she, s/he, either/or, yes/no, pass/fail • The slash between words, as in and/or and he/she, indicates that either word is appropriate in the given context. • In these cases, no space is left before or after the slash. • Because extensive use of the slash can make writing choppy, consider using or instead. • If you are following MLA guidelines, avoid using the slash in formal prose.
Using the slash to Mark line breaks in quoted poetry • Example: Shel Silverstein ends his poem “Listen to the Mustn’ts” with a piece of optimistic advice: “Then listen close to me— / Anything can happen, child, / ANYTHNG can be.” • Except for very special emphasis, enclose a quotation of three (or fewer) lines of poetry in quotation marks as you would a short prose quotation. • Indicate the divisions between the lines with a slash with a space on each side. • Quotations of poetry or verse must look like verse, not prose. Keep all capital letters and punctuation used in the poem’s original format. • If you cite more than three lines of verse, format the passage like a block quotation and break the lines as they occur in the poem itself. No slashes are required when quoting poetry this way.
Other uses for the slash: Fractions • Examples: 2/3, 5-3/8 • Use a slash to separate the numerator from the denominator in fractions. • Use a hyphen to attach a whole number and a fraction. • No spaces are left between the numbers, slashes, and hyphens.
Other uses for the slash: Web Addresses • Slashes are used in Web addresses. • No spaces precede or follow slashes in Web addresses. Example: http://www.uwf.edu/writelab/aids/minilessons/
Information gathered from. . . • The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers, 5th Edition • Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook, Thirteenth Edition • Hodges’ Harbrace Handbook, Sixteenth Edition • Writing: A College Handbook, 4th Edition • The Holt Handbook, Third Edition • MLA Handbook, 7th Edition • APA Handbook, 6th Edition