APA Fact of the Week: Slashes

Posted March 25, 2016

Use slashes sparingly in APA style. Because a slash could easily be replaced with a conjunction, while also increasing clarity, slash use is limited to specific instances (APA6, p. 95).
For example, here are the situations in which it is appropriate to use a slash:
• to clarify a relationship in which a hyphenated compound is used
o hits/false-alarms comparison
• to separate numerator from denominator
o X/Y
• to indicate per to separate units of measurements but only when accompanied by a numerical value
o 0.5 deg/s
o however, luminance is measured in candelas per square meter
• to set off English phonemes
o /o/
• to cite a republished work
o Freud (1923/1961)
However, don’t use slashes in the following situations:
• when a phrase would be clearer
o each child handed the ball to her mother or guardian
o not, each child handed the ball to her mother/guardian
• for simple comparisons
o test-retest reliability
o not, test/retest reliability
• more than once to express compound units
o (nmol)(hr-1)(mg-1)
o not, nmol/hr-1/mg-1

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