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I have a co-worker who writes phrases like this:

I need monthly sales per/country for all of 2023...

I'm very sure she's doing it wrong. I think it should be either:

I need monthly sales per country for all of 2023...

...or:

I need monthly sales/country for all of 2023...

...but not both. The way I see it, it's sales-over-country, the same way speed is distance-over-time.

Before I mention it to her (again, since I mentioned it a few years ago), I'd like to be a bit more sure. I've been embarrassed in the past when I assumed her double-spacing between sentences (which I had never seen before) was an accident, only to discover it was taught as the correct form a few decades ago.

So my question is, is "sales per/country" some archaic-but-still-valid form or is it just the weird mix that I think it is?

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  • You are right. Your colleague's usage is off. The better one is using 'per' since '/' is also used to indicate an alternative. Dec 13, 2023 at 23:08
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    The "/" in this context is an abbreviation for "per". So the example sentence would be read aloud: "I need monthly sales PER PER country for all of 2023."
    – MetaEd
    Dec 13, 2023 at 23:26
  • @MetaEd Exactly my reasoning.
    – Clonkex
    Dec 13, 2023 at 23:28
  • merriam-webster.com/dictionary/per
    – Stuart F
    Dec 13, 2023 at 23:57
  • @WeatherVane "sales/country" is unlikely to be misunerstood as alternatives, since there's no likely context where you're choosing between them. And in a financial context, it's obvious that it means "per", and this usage is extremely common.
    – Barmar
    Dec 14, 2023 at 17:55

1 Answer 1

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(A) Is the co-worker right ?
No , it is redundant to user "per" & "/" at the same time.
Department of Redundancy Department will encourage the usage of such wrong & incorrect usages which is not right.

(B) Should you inform or rectify the co-worker , who did not listen the first time around ? No , it is no big deal & the co-worker is not going to change.
You should just laugh it off & not use it yourself.

(C) Here is one example where you can see the 2 ways to write it out :

https://www.eia.gov/petroleum/gasdiesel/

U.S. Regular Gasoline Prices (dollars per gallon)
Regular Gasoline October 2023 Retail price: $3.61/gallon

(D) Here is one more example :

https://www.energysage.com/local-data/electricity-cost/

The national average electricity rate is 23 cents per kilowatt-hour
Arkansas 13.26 ¢ / kWh

(E) You can gently show more such online examples to your co-worker , without mentioning that "X per/ Y" is wrong & without expecting changes.

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    "Should you inform or rectify the co-worker" She did listen; she just forgot. That was about 6 years ago, lol. However it's not just about correcting someone; she produces most of the marketing material on our website and I care greatly about our maintaining a certain level of quality. It reflects poorly on a company that primarily sells children's story books if the marketing material contains obvious grammatical errors.
    – Clonkex
    Dec 17, 2023 at 20:46
  • Oh , when the Situation is not some casual internal emailing & not her Domain , then it is not worthwhile & should be handled gently ! When you inform us that the Situation is actually her Domain , @Clonkex , then that is a serious glaring issue & should be rectified forthwith !
    – Prem
    Dec 18, 2023 at 3:49

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