Are they "if-else statements" or are they "if/else statements"? I'm partial to the latter, but I can see the logic of the former - both "if" and "else" are acting as a unit modifier for the noun "statements" (and so a hyphen is appropriate), whereas a slash (usually) indicates an "or" condition. Thoughts?
In this case I think what you want is if...else.
The slash tends to be used to suggest alternatives: yes/no answer. But you are talking about a case where both are present.
The hyphen is used to make a phrase into a word you can talk about. Instances have an is-a relationship to their class. But if and else are not consecutive words in these constructions.
Ellipses are used to indicate elided text. There is other text between if and else, so if...else.
I would approach this be doing the following (in order of preference)
- If you follow a style guide, consult it.
- If you are writing about a specific coding language, consult that language's official documentation and see how they refer to that construct. (For example, I just looked in the Lua 5.3 reference and see that it uses
repeat–until(with an en dash) to describe that kind of statement, so I would use that format in my own docs about Lua)
- If neither of the above apply, use "
if... elsestatement" or "
if-elsestatement"—it doesn't matter which, but be consistent with your choice.
As you stated in your question a
/ is generally a stand in for "or". In my opinion, it is very rarely used correctly for that purpose and is often the result of sloppy prose.
Your logic makes sense -- the hyphen seems to join them together (a unit of if-else statements), the slash often means "or". However, the slash can also show connection between two words. (I might be typing from my home office/guest room.)