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):
- Norton College’s Online Writing Help Desk (with a particularly helpful discussion here)
- Butte College’s Tip Sheets
- Capital Community College’s Guide to Grammar and Writing (discussion here)