Re: Meaning of the slash (/) mark

Subject: Re: Meaning of the slash (/) mark
From: "Diana Ost" <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: C <cll01821 -at- lycos -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2006 16:59:45 -0400

C said:

>have always understood the slash
>mark to mean "or", as in "Select OK/Yes".

We had that discussion here recently too.

I looked it up, and my sources* say that the / is not used alone (unless, of
course, you are parsing a directory name). It should be shown as "and/or.The
slash is supposed to be a replacement for "and" or for "or" in textual
writing. (Tabular data is different of course.) (*Gregg Reference Manual,
and I am pretty sure, Chicago Manual of Style).


The slash can be used as "per" or "to" when used to indicate a ratio, such
as 29 mi/gal. It is also used in some abbreviations, such as w/o (without)
or c/o (in care of), but again, neither of these sould be used in formal
writing. (*Mirriam Webster's Manual for Writers and Editors)

As a general rule, I do not use a slash to indicate "and," "or," a hyphen,
or anything like that. It is much clearer to just say what is meant: "and,"
"or," "and/or."

There is too much room for misunderstanding, especially since so many people
have a different take on what it means, and use slashes for everything. My
personal opinion is that it is somewhat...oh, messy? But don't take it
personally. It's just one of my pet peeves!! (But it does not make my hair
stand on end like "John and Myself went to..."! I always want to say, so,
Myself went there too...and see the response I get!)

My career spans 23 years as a tech writer, Carol, close to your time served.
I started out as writer for the US government before that (4 years), and as
an English teaching assistant and tutor in college before that. So, I'm a
grammar nut.

-- Diana

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Meaning of the slash (/) mark: From: C

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