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How To Use The Slash Punctuation Mark

How To Use The Slash Punctuation Mark

Here is a useful guide to using the slash punctuation mark. Make sure you know where to appropriately place this punctuation mark, and use your slashes properly in your English writing.

Step 1: Separating alternatives

The slash, also known as the virgule, the stroke, the shilling mark, the oblique or the solidus, is a relatively minor punctuation mark, but it still has several key uses.

The first of these is to separate alternatives, for example

Each player must bring his/her own equipment.


The ideal cast member must have ninja skills and/or good dancing ability.

However this usage is not that easy to pick out from the page, and often it may be easier to simply write the alternatives out in full.

Each player must bring his or her own equipment.

Step 2: Time periods

The second use for the slash is to represent a period of time. For example:

He missed most of the 2004/05 season with a terrible knee injury

Step 3: Something per something

Third, the slash is used to represent the word per in units. This is especially prominent in scientific writing.

The speed of sound at sea level is 340.29 m/sec

The density of water at 5 degrees centigrade is 0.999966 g/cm3

Step 4: Abbreviations

The slash's fourth use happens when writing certain abbreviations. Probably the only one you will regularly see, outside of specialist contexts, is c/o, which stands for 'care of' in addresses

Send you fan mail to Videojug, c/o Harry Lime, London, England.

Step 5: Fractions

Another use for the slash occurs when writing out fractions, so a half can be written as 1/2. If the slash is used this way it is often called the scratch.

Step 6: Poetry

Finally, if a poem is written in a solid block of text, instead of the normal line by line format, then the slash is used to separate the lines.

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I love Videojug / and so do you!