Today, we\u2019re looking at some oft-overlooked\u00a0punctuation marks: the backslash and the forward slash. But wait! Did you know that only one of these is technically a punctuation mark? If not, you might find this guide useful!\nHere, we look at what backslashes and forward slashes represent and how they should be used if you want to\u00a0avoid errors when using them in your writing.\n\nThe Backslash\nThe slash that isn\u2019t technically a \u201cpunctuation\u201d mark we mentioned is the backslash ( \\ ). It is a typographic mark (i.e., something you can type). But it doesn\u2019t have a function in punctuation, and you will not find it in most writing.\nThe true home of the backslash is computing, where it is used in various programming languages. You\u2019ll also see it if you look up a file directory in Windows (although not on Apple computers, which use a different system).\nHowever, you shouldn\u2019t typically need to use a backslash in your writing.\n\nThe Forward Slash\nWhile the backslash is a specialist, the forward slash is a Jack-of-all-trades. Its most common use is to mean \u201cor\u201d when presenting two alternatives:\nEach speaker will give a presentation on a topic of his\/her choice.\nThe slash here shows that either word could apply. However, you should avoid doing this too often in formal writing, where \u201cor\u201d is a better choice.\nOther common uses of the forward slash include:\n\n\n \tDate formats (e.g., 03\/27\/2019\u00a0=\u00a0March 27, 2019)\n \tFractions or indicating division (e.g., 5\/8\u00a0=\u00a0five eighths)\n \tIndicating \u201cper\u201d in a measurement (e.g.,\u00a050 lbs\/day\u00a0=\u00a0fifty pounds per day)\n \tSeparating lines of poetry on a single line (e.g.,\u00a0I wandered lonely as a cloud\/That floats on high o\u2019er vales and hills)\n \tCertain abbreviations (e.g., c\/o\u00a0=\u00a0care of,\u00a0n\/a\u00a0=\u00a0not applicable)\n \tURLs for websites (e.g., https:\/\/proofed.com\/writing-tips\/)\n\nYou may also see a forward slash used to indicate a relationship. For instance:\nSoviet\/US relations were tense throughout the 1960s.\nThis use of a slash is okay in less formal writing. In formal writing, however, you should use an en dash to indicate connections instead:\nSoviet\u2013US relations were tense throughout the 1960s.\nThere are some cases when a slash is the correct symbol use in formal writing (e.g., when one of the connected things is a\u00a0hyphenated compound). Usually, though, an en dash is the standard punctuation for indicating a relationship like this.\n\nSummary: The Backslash and Forward Slash\nAlthough these symbols look similar, forward slashes and backslashes have different uses. Make sure to remember the following:\n\n\n \tThe backslash (\\) is mostly used in computing and isn\u2019t a punctuation mark.\n \tThe forward slash (\/) can be used in place of \u201cor\u201d in less formal writing. It\u2019s also used to write dates, fractions, abbreviations, and URLs.\n\nSince the backslash is not a punctuation mark, you will rarely need it in writing. Thus, usually, the correct slash will be the forward slash. But if you\u2019d like to be extra sure your writing is error free, we\u2019re always here to help.