There are two kinds of slashes.
** This is a backslash. It’s not used in written English; it’s only used in computing. Unless you’re writing about computers or including an url in your bibliography, don’t use a backslash.
/ This is a slash, sometimes called a forward slash to distinguish it from the backslash. It doesn’t have a large role in formal English, but it’s used in specific cases.
A slash can show a line break in poem, song, or play, usually if several short lines are being written together on one long line. Remember to put a space after the slash.
Mary had a little lamb/ little lamb, little lamb/ Mary had a little lamb/ whose fleece was white as snow.
The quality of mercy is not strained/ it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven/ upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:/ It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Slashes can also be used in some short forms, although these shouldn’t be used in formal writing. In this case, there shouldn’t be a space after the slash.
w/o = without
w/ = with
c/o = care of (used when posting a letter or parcel)
a/c = air conditioning
Sometimes we used a slash between two small words, if it’s an informal case where the reader can choose between the two words. When using a slash like this, we don’t put a space after it.
I’m starving! I can’t wait for a snack and/or dinner!
If/when Mary ever shows up, we can all head out to the party together.
Burgers or pizza for dinner? Yeah, either/or is fine with me.
Dictionaries will often use a slash on either side of a word when showing the pronunciation. Generally, the word between the slashes will be written phonetically. This usage doesn’t require a space after the first slash, but it does require one after the second slash.
The pronunciation of
Shoe: /shoo/ an article of protective clothing worn over the foot; generally made of leather or cloth with a hard sole.
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