Punctuation: Slash

The slash ( / ) is often incorrectly called a backslash, especially when a Web address is spoken: "wmich dot edu slash news," not "backslash."

A slash is used in text to separate alternatives (good/evil) and to separate lines of poetry (Roses are red / Violets are blue / It's not a backslash / Really? Who knew?). When used for poetry, there is a space before and after the slash.

Other common uses include 24/7, meaning all day, every day.

To illustrate joint entity or ownership, a hyphen is always preferable to a slash.

  • It is a student-faculty initiative.
  • We publish a biweekly faculty-staff newsletter.
  • She attended the junior-senior dance.
  • They are in accordance with the Taft-Hartley Act.

Do not use a slash to separate alternatives when using "and" or "or" would suffice.

  • Bring your new and used (not new/used) books to the exchange.
  • Please alert your parent or guardian (not parent/guardian).

Avoid the phrase “and/or.”

  • The form is to be completed at the beginning of the fall or spring semesters (not fall and/or spring semesters).