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What does a slash mean?

Taken from Sydney Writers Centre Newsletter 8th November 2012

The slash (or solidus as it’s known in the printing world) has a number of uses, but in writing it’s often used to indicate or.

For example:

Dear Sir/Madam
The chairman/chairwoman will give the speech.

If you’re using it this way in your writing, be very careful not to over-use it. In formal writing, it should be used sparingly.

The / can also be used to replace per, an or a in measurements such as speed or price. For example:

The speed limit is 100km/h.

You should never use the slash to replace a hyphen. For example, “the 2012/13 financial year” should be
written as “the 2012-13 financial year”.


2 comments on “What does a slash mean?

  1. on thehomefrontandbeyond
    November 8, 2012

    why thank you Judy for clarifying that — I love it when I learn something


  2. Waldo "Wally" Tomosky
    November 8, 2012

    I have been using it as “and/or” as well; is that incorrect? For example if you are writing about generic mechanical fasteners could you say “screws/bolts?” All of them are solidus items.


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