When I hear a radio ad that ends with the mention of a website URL and the narrator says, “dot com, backslash” I want to call the writer for the ad and let them know how retarded they have just sounded across the airwaves. Maybe we’re not all equally techno-savvy when it comes to the punctuation used in a URL, but we do all know the difference between an apostrophe and a comma, and knowing that is as important in today’s world wide web as knowing the difference between back and forward. A comma goes at the bottom, an apostrophe goes at the top. They mean different things. So do backslashes and forward slashes — one leans left and one leans right.
First of all, a forward slash is a punctuation mark and a backslash is a typographical symbol used in computer programming, they do different things. Backslash is one word. Forward slash is two words, I’m assuming because it was originally just called a slash but when bringing computing into the world we were introduced to a different leaning slash and now have two to choose from. They are distinguished by ‘forward’ and ‘back’ when they really should be called ‘slash’ and ‘backslash’.
How do you tell which is forward and which is back? The forward slash leans to the right, as if it is leaning forward as you read the words on the page. The backslash leans to the left as though it leans backwards in relation to the direction you move across the page.
Forward slashes people. Let’s all remember this so I don’t get worked up and drive my car into a ditch having a coronary over such a trivial matter when we all know what you mean anyway.
Thank you for your attention.