Tuesday, July 11, 2017

The Student’s Guide to Punctuation: Slashes and Dashes

Do not enroll in an IELTS review center that discusses complicated grammar rules on the get go. While a preparatory course that tackles advanced language lessons in the first few sessions may give you the feeling that you are at an advantage, this kind of learning approach can have detrimental effects on the development of your English communication skills.

ielts writing

Exceptional training facilities like the IELTS review center in Davao typically kick off their courses with a recap of the basic principles of the English language. Though they know that most of the subjects were already drilled into your head during your elementary and high school days,  IELTS review center instructors would teach their students English fundamentals like the subject-verb agreement and parts of speech. They revisit these concepts not only to lay down a solid foundation for excellent communication skills but also to achieve better reception and retention of complex grammar lessons.

A grammar essential that the IELTS review center in Davao would delve into is the proper usage of punctuation. Most people can use only the most common reference marks in their compositions confidently - specifically the period, comma, question mark, and exclamation point. Anything beyond these punctuation marks can be a challenge to utilize for most English students.

The Functions of a Slash

A slash comes in two forms: a forward slash (/) and a backslash (\). The latter is used only by IT specialists for computer encoding purposes. A forward slash has many functions in English compositions.

Substitute for “or”
The art lessons are open to all provided that the students bring his/her materials.
Children must submit a consent form signed by a parent and/or a guardian.

Create abbreviations
N/A – “not applicable”
c/o – “care of”
w/o – “without”

Show harmonious and conflicting word relationships

The pro/anti-death penalty debates reached new heights yesterday.
The dancer often practices his routines in his makeshift studio/house basement.

Divide passages in prose

Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, / too rude, too boisterous; and it pricks like thorn (Romeo and Juliet, Act I, Sc. 5, 25)
The Functions of a Dash

A dash (-) functions as a passage breaker or a pause. As aptly described by The Elements of Style, a dash signals an abrupt interruption to introduce a long passage or summary. As a reference mark used for separation, it is more casual compared to a colon, less formal compared to a parenthesis, but more emphasized compared to a comma. Let us delve into the two most commonly used forms of dashes: the em dash and the en dash.
Em dash is longer than en dash. It can be used to replace the colon as a more casual and emotion-generating reference mark.

Only two things can make him leave his bed on a Saturday morning: spiders and freshly baked apple pie.

Only two things can make him leave his bed on a Saturday morning - spiders and freshly baked apple pie.

Em dash is also often used to substitute parentheses phrases at the end of a sentence


Frustrated at the loud karaoke music blaring from his neighbor’s house, he shoved a pillow on his ears and slept (or, at least he tried to).

Frustrated at the loud karaoke music blaring from his neighbor’s house, he shoved a pillow on his ears and slept -or, at least he tried to.

En dash, on the other hand, is used to denote time and number ranges to give the silent impression of “through” or “to.”

The school year 2012-2013 was the most memorable year of his student life.
The coverage of the exam is pages 241-253.
The television show runs from 7:00-8:00 pm.

Slash and dash are some of the more versatile punctuation marks in English. Master their core functions and learn how to apply them creatively to your essays by enrolling in an IELTS review center.


  • “Slashes” Grammarly. Accessed May 11, 2017. https://www.grammarly.com/blog/slash/
  • “Dashes.” Grammarly. Accessed May 11, 2017. https://www.grammarly.com/blog/dash/
  • Clark, Roy Peter. The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2011.
  • Strunk, William, and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. North Charleston, SC: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.


Post a Comment