I saw such usages many times(including one in this blog post I saw just now) especially when we are writing on the blackboard, but I don't know why between is simplified as b/w. It seems very strange to a non-native speaker when it meets the eye. Should logic be shelved in such casual cases? Any similar simplifications?

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    As a native speaker, I wouldn't recognise "b/w" as "between". I might recognise "btw" in a context such as a text message. – jonathanjo Jul 2 '19 at 14:09
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    @jonathanjo Maybe this is an American vs British thing? I'm American and "b/w" was used to shorten "between" by nearly every teacher/professor I had in high school and college, as well as in every workplace I've been in. Definitely don't use "btw;" many people will read it as "by the way," as showsni says – pip install frisbee Jul 2 '19 at 14:22
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    Midwest American engineer here - I've never seen "b/w" as short for "between." My first thoughts were "black & white" and "bandwidth." Also agree that "btw" is, if anything, worse, and will mean "by the way" to most people. – TypeIA Jul 2 '19 at 14:28
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    writingexplained endorses btw, but my guess is most people wouldn't even try to abbreviate between. Just a slash, dash, or other "non-standard character" would normally have the required contextually obvious sense, so if you really didn't have the time or (space) to write the full word, almost any kind "separator" symbol would do. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jul 2 '19 at 14:49
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    I am astonished that anybody would write "b/w" for "between". I don't believe I have ever seen it, and I don't believe that "between" would even occur to me as a meaning for it, (except that the context would probably force that). I see that people have been asking about this for at least ten years – Colin Fine Jul 2 '19 at 15:08

As with any other abbreviated expression, it depends entirely on whether your reader knows what you mean. When I see something new such "b/w", I have to evaluate it in the context of similar shorthand expressions. The slash commonly indicates two separate words, such as:

n/a = "not applicable"

i/o = "input (and) output"

y/o = "year(s) old"

and various others. My first guess therefore is that it is a variation on b&w, meaning "black and white". It may be that those who coined "b/w" to mean "between" confused it with "w/o" (meaning "without") and assumed any word can be shortened with a slash. However, "without" at least suggests two separate words ("with out") while "between" does not.

The point is that "b/w" does not fit standard shorthand conventions, so there is no reason why "between" is shortened that way. As others have mentioned, a simple dash, arrow, or slash would be sufficient to convey this meaning:

Visualize the relationship age - wage

Visualize the relationship age/wage

Still, once a certain shorthand becomes commonly used, it needs no reason for its existence.

It would probably be misleading to abbreviate "between" as "btw" since this shorthand already exists to mean "by the way".

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