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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Slash

Despite its popularity, the slash (/), technically known as a virgule, is frowned on by purists. Other than to indicate dates (9/11/2001) or separate lines of poetry ("Celery, raw / Develops the jaw"), it has few defensible uses in formal writing.

Usually a hyphen, or in some cases the world or, will suffice. Instead of writing the novelist/poet Eve Jones, make it the novelist-poet Eve Jones. Rather than available to any man/woman who is qualified, make it any man or woman.

"The virgule is a mark that doesn't appear much in first-rate writing," says Bryan A. Garner in A Dictionary of Modern American Usage. "Use it as a last resort."


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