The technical term for a slash is virgule or solidus. (Thought I’d let you know just in case that comes up in a game show!)

Many people have asked me if we should put a space before and after a slash.

My answer: No need.


1. Put a space before and after a slash when you’re writing poetry and you need to separate one line from another. For example: “If ever any beauty I did see, / Which I desired, and got, ‘twas but a dream of thee.” (John Donne, The Good-Morrow)

2. The Chicago Manual of Style also allows spaces when either of the separated items is a compound that itself includes a space: Our New Zealand / Western Australia trip.

Note the other meaning of slash as a modifier (from the New American Oxford Dictionary):



2 thoughts on “Space before a slash

    • Hi, Sony. My other reason in not putting a space before and after a slash is that when the computer automatically cuts a sentence to create another line, sometimes it ends up separating one word from the slash. The “suspended” slash does not create easy reading. But if there is no space before and after the slash, the computer reads the words+slash as one word or term.

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