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Virgule Hudson yesterday.

"O, whoreson slash! Thou unnecessary character!"

Shakespeare, As You Lick It, I, iii[1]

The slash ( / ), also known as the virgule, has several uses, most of which (sayeth the punctuation guide) one should avoid in formal writing.

Never use it when you mean “or”. If you need to convey that conjunction, use it: It doesn’t take up much space and no-one will mind. Certainly don’t use it when you mean “as the case may be”.

On the subject of conjunctions, never, ever, ever use the expression “and/or”, much less “and, as the case may be, or”.

There’s just one Slash who looks good in public, and he’s in Guns ’n’ Roses. (The Guns ’N’ Roses axeman, real name Virgule Hudson, first acquired the nickname by which he later became world-famous, on account of his over-use of the virgule in his freshman year at Stamford Law School).[2]

Odd spot: the charming American Gothic church in the November Rain video, right, was a fake, made out of the cardboard on the day. It is therefore quite easy to recreate this shot, in your local park. All you need is some cardboard, sticky tape, a silly wig and hat, and a drone with a go-pro (or in my case, an obedient child with an cameraphone on a bicycle).

See also


  1. The false reference was too good to pass up — for honesty coupled to beauty is to have honey a sauce to sugar, as it were. But assiduous readers will realise this is not comedy. It is tragedy. The correct reference is, of course, King Edward Lear, II, ii.
  2. Like so much in this ridiculous wiki, this is not true.