Backslash backlash

Although I think it’s a year or two late, this xkcd strip matches my feelings exactly. And, as with most computer-related irritations, the tendency of people to say “backslash” when they mean “slash” can be blamed on Microsoft. It may be that some earlier operating system used backslash for directory separation, but DOS put the word in everyone’s mouth. And the really annoying part is that people who misuse backslash think they’re being smart.

A closely related irritation for me is “forward slash,” with its thoroughly unnecessary adjective. For months, if not years, Melvyn Bragg’s introduction to the otherwise wonderful In Our Time podcast has been

Thanks for downloading the In Our Time podcast. For more details about In Our Time and for our terms of use, please go to bee-bee-cee, dot-coe, dot-you-kay, forward slash, radio four. I hope you enjoy the program.

which always set my teeth on edge. I kept hoping he’d switch to the more British “stroke.”