Grammar Tip – The slash (/) and when you use it

Slashes have several meanings: and, or, both, to, or per. Be careful when you use them. They can make your sentence difficult to interpret.

1. You can use a slash to indicate a time period that extends beyond a single year.


Fiscal year 2010/11

2. Use it to replace per in measurements: 40 km/h (40 kilometers per hour).

3. You can use it to replace and/or. However, many readers dislike this usage as it can be ambiguous.

Example (awkward)

You can attend the presentation and/or the dinner. (Is this easy to read? How many options is the writer offering?)

Example (better)

You can attend the presentation or the dinner or both.

4. Although I have seen it, I don’t recommend that people write he/she or s/he. This is awkward and distracting. It draws attention to political correctness at the expense of the message.

And if that’s not enough – it’s difficult to say/read aloud.