Usage and Grammar

Q. I am editing a fiction story that has the word slash used as a separator of terms such as “toys slash books slash paint party” instead of the / mark. Is it acceptable to use the word rather than the mark itself?

A. The word is especially appropriate if a character is speaking or the text is meant to sound like personal narration. In running text, it would be a judgment call, depending on the kind of writing. The usage is strongly suggestive of someone speaking; it’s most appropriate in conversational contexts.