I need to typeset a table in a relatively reduced space (it's a two-column document format) and I wanted one of the column headers to read "Static / Dynamic" (or "Static / dynamic"?). I don't think I can have that in a single line, which will already make for an uglier header, so maybe I should just try to find an alternative like "Type" or "Nature" or whatever. But anyway I was curious, I have not been able to find any recommendation about what to do with the slash in this situation, that is, whether I should prefer:

Static /


/ Dynamic

Seeing them actually written I think I'd favor the first one, but neither looks good really. I guess the same issue arises with slashes at line breaks in general (whenever one thinks it is okay to use slashes). Also, I know different style guides have different recommendations about the use of spaces around slashes, and I don't know how that may or may not affect this problem.

Again, I know that maybe the best recommendation is to just replace it with something else, in this case another word or even just something like "Static or dynamic", but is there any specific recommendation to this situation?

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    Neither whitespace should be there in the first place. "Static/dynamic". With that out of the way, you don't begin a line with a slash. Like literally nobody in the entire history of English, or other languages, has ever done that even just once. How come are you even considering that as an option? – RegDwigнt Aug 9 '17 at 11:56
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    If the only choices for this column are Static or Dynamic, and this is understood, I might consider tagging the column "Static?" and converting the values to "yes" (=static) or "no" (=dynamic). – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 9 '17 at 11:58
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    @RegDwigнt I'm not an English native speaker and have limited editorial knowledge, but anyway, yes, I do realize a slash at the beginning of a line looks bad (in whatever language). But I don't know what is the advice for table cells, and slashes at the end of a line also look bad. I think the question is legit no matter how obvious it sounds to you, and in any case I'm not sure the tone of the comment is very helpful. Btw, the second upper case may be wrong but for the spaces, as I mention, there exist different recommendations (feel free to give yours, but it's not just "it's like this"). – jdehesa Aug 9 '17 at 12:11
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    As a matter of style and for better readability: If it is binary (just two alternatives like in the example), use the slash in the first line -- to signal that there is an alternative below. If more, begin each of the following lines (each alternative) with a slash. – Kris Aug 9 '17 at 13:00
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    This doesn't really seem to be a language issue, it would be more appropriate for a forum that discusses typography. I'm not sure there's a SE site for this, the closest I can think of us ux.stackexchange.com. – Barmar Aug 10 '17 at 20:04

I do understand that you won’t have realised this, and yet your Question is one of proof-reading so it doesn’t belong here. It is neither a language nor a typography issue. On any level it’s purely a style issue.

Please think again about everything to do with the design of your table, in the context not solely of this single one but of every table you could ever imagine your publication nee ding.

Consider solutions such as Stat/dyn or Static? or even Stat?. With a binary choice one solution would be to go to the tedious extent of entering either Static or Dynamic in each row but what would that actually achieve, other than boring the reader?

Static? or Stat? or even just Stat takes less space and offers the simpler choice of, for instance Stat/ or Yes/No or ✓/ or if you will, 1/0.

I am a native English speaker and I do have editorial knowledge and the advice for anything is that you look in the house style-book, or you ask your senior or you pay a commercial trainer.

Please be very sure if you have this question you will have 27 others, any of which here could take hours or days of debate to resolve, or for a commercial trainer minutes to explain not only in great detail; not only in the context of your specific needs, but also in a way that at least touched on, if not fully covered several of the other questions.

Then the advice for table cells is that almost everything is down to house style, one of the few exeptions being that RegDwight is right. Static/dynamic should have no spaces and you may never begin any line with a slash. End any followed but do not begin any following line with a slash.

Your question might be legit after you’d looked in the house style-book, or asked your senior or spent a day or two with a commercial trainer. Otherwise I’m sorry to say that even if this were the right forum, you'd be cheap-skating.

jdehesa … it's not just it's like this… ignores both the long-established hierarchy: look in the house style-book, ask your senior or use a commercial trainer and the simple fact asking the Question demonstrates you don’t know whether … it's like this….

Capitalization is subject to house style, not outside discussion. Nothing in a table is normal text. Table headings are clearly forms of title and thus not subject to general rules. That is why whether Static or Dynamic are here ‘specific terms’ is not relevant. They need initial capitals if that is what house style demands; otherwise, not.

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  • Thanks for the tips. I acknowledged why this question may not belong here, but it was the best SE site I found; maybe it just doesn't belong in SE at all. I don't have an in-house style book, I'm just a doctoral student trying to write academic material, and I thought I could find some useful advice here, if it's just "it varies" so be it. I don't know why I should be ridiculed or accused of cheap-skating. Each point I have argued not to be "just like this" is backed not by myself, but answers in this very site (w/ links), so I'm not sure why I should simply take one user's advice over another – jdehesa Aug 11 '17 at 8:54
  • This is neither general nor simple. If the department sets no rules, copy a previously published style, ask your study buddies, your tutor; perhaps some of last year’s students who’ve already done this or the university library. Cheap-skating? The ‘simple’ mechanics of setting tables to match your style can take days to master; even the differences between programmes can take hours… Broadly, aim for something which works mechanically in your application; which allows you to present the information simply; which does both while looking presentable. – Robbie Goodwin Aug 15 '17 at 13:26

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