spacing around the slash in English, French, Spanish

sullivanj's picture

I am looking for an authoritative, informed opinion on the subject of proper spacing before and after the slash/solidus/slant character in professional typesetting.

I need advice on spacing in English, French, and Spanish languages. Opinions are fine, and I have one myself. I am hoping for some professional, scholarly information that goes beyond personal opinion.

Thank you!

HVB's picture

And don't ignore the virgule, which has a different slope. Bringhurst states that the solidus should be kerned,which implies no spaces before or after. However, his printed examples have quite a bit of white space around them, indicating very loose kerning.

It depends on the context whether a line break can occur following a slash. FOr instance, it's never OK to split the two parts of a fraction, but if it's two words that are separated by the slant character (there: I've used all the terms for it) then a line can end with the solidus. Personally, I wouldn't end a page with it, though. Too confusing.

- Herb

hrant's picture

authoritative, informed opinion

Not always the same thing. :-)

For Spanish, consult Jorge de Buen.

And French:


Joshua Langman's picture

In English, I go by the context: by default, I space / around the slash, but sometimes it helps solve ambiguity not to have spaces. So whichever is clearer in context. In the same way that a hyphen becomes an en dash when one of the compound parts it's connecting is more than one word, I think a slash gets spaces around it when one (or more) of the things it's diving is more than one word. I usually prefer spaces, though, unless there's a good reason not to. I think Bringhurst has examples of both styles, which seems to imply it depends on context.

Michel Boyer's picture

The following link gives spacing rules for French: Espacement avant et après les principaux signes de ponctuation et autres signes ou symboles (Office québécois de la langue française).

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