August 30th, 2016


Useful Punctuation Mark: Virgule

virgule \VUR-gyool\

1. a short oblique stroke (/) between two words indicating that whichever is appropriate may be chosen to complete the sense of the text in which they occur: The defendant and his/her attorney must appear in court.
2. a dividing line, as in dates, fractions, a run-in passage of poetry to show verse division, etc.: 3/21/27; “Sweetest love, I do not go/For weariness of thee.” (John Donne)
It can be used, of course to indicate the choices, one or more, that may "properly" fill the blank space that follows. But the virgule need not be strictly identified with a particular or exclusive binary. It can be argued that the virgule is the poststructuralist punctuation par excellence (although a strong case can be made for the hyphen), in that is can be deployed to suggest the endlessness of binariness, a serial proliferation of constrastives in horizontally endless adjacencies ...
-- Virgil Lokke, "The Naming of the Virgule in the Linguistic/Extralinguistic Binary," After the Future: Postmodern Times and Places, edited by Gary Shapiro, 1990