Don’t say ‘backslash’ when talking about Web addresses

Over the weekend a prominent radio play-by-play announcer gave out a Web site for listeners to visit: “Please visit www dot nfl dot com backslash Play 60 to learn more.”

This isn’t the first time and it won’t be that last that someone uses “backslash” when they really mean “slash.”

This is a backslash: \

This is a slash: /

A slash is sometimes referred to as a forward slash.

Noting that we read from left to right, you can see how the top part of the symbol leans back in the former and leans forward in the latter. That is how they get their names.

If you try to enter a backslash in a Web address you will likely get an error. They are rarely used in URLs. Thus they shouldn’t be used when discussing Web addresses.

Backslashes are often used in programming languages and old DOS directories, so on occasion developers and nerds might correctly use the name.

Somehow, regular people began to regularly use the term backslash, maybe because they thought they were interchangeable or they wanted to sound smarter.

They are not interchangeable. A slash is always a forward slash.

It doesn’t make you sound smart.

Drop this word from your Internet lexicon.