Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Slash and Backslash: Finally, Clarification

This is a slash: /

This is a backslash: \

A slash leans its head forward: /

A backslash leans its head BACK: \ It is called a backslash because it leans its head back.

Slash: / lives in the lowercase of the question mark key. It is easy to reach and more commonly used.

Backslash: \ lives in the lowercase above the enter key. It is a bit up and out of the way and less commonly used.

A slash is called a slash because it was the first of the slashes to arrive on the scene. When the backslash arrived, someone said, "Ah, I see there is another type of slash!" And someone else said, "Yes, but that one is leaning its head back. Let us call it the 'backslash'."

As computers came into being, the lexicon supporting their coding included the slash, and less commonly, its slightly daunted sibling, the backslash.

Sometimes people announcing URL's (radio, conversation, instruction) make the mistake of calling a slash a backslash. They think they are showing off how much they know about slashes; they feel very official - you can hear it in their voices.

They are mistaken.

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