Slash (punctuation)

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Punctuation

The slash is a sign, "/", used as a punctuation mark and for various other purposes. It is often called a forward slash (to distinguish it from the backslash, "\"), and many other alternative names.

Contents

History

The slash goes back to the days of ancient Rome. In the early modern period, in the Fraktur script, which was widespread through Europe in the Middle Ages, one slash (/) represented a comma, while two slashes (//) represented a dash. The two slashes eventually evolved into a sign similar to the equals sign (=), then being further simplified to a single dash or hyphen (–).

Usage

In English text

The most common use of the slash is to replace the hyphen or en dash to make a clear, strong joint between words or phrases, such as "the Hemingway/Faulkner generation". It is used to represent the concept "or", especially in instruction books. It is also commonly translated today as "and". Some references frown on this use, however.

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