The Great Debate

Pens vs. pencils


Story by Jessie Tremmel and Sam Martinez


Please use black or blue ink only.

Ink is required on most formal documents, including handwritten job applications. When I find myself filling out my hundredth job application using a pen, I don’t have to worry about passing the pressure I feel off onto the fragile lead of a pencil.

And when my pen runs out of ink, I simply unscrew the top and replace the ink. No trying to pry the eraser off the end of a mechanical pencil or even worse being that person who still needs a pencil sharpener.

If I, for some odd reason, don’t have a pen handy and have to write in my planner in pencil, I will write over it in pen and erase the imposing scratches. Pen ink just looks cleaner than pencil lead.

I actually have more pencils than pens in my pencil cup at the moment. They sit there, where they have been the past three years, unused. Every time I grab for a pencil, I either can’t get the lead up or the tip isn’t sharpened. I would gladly part with my pencil collection.

My sacred pens are distributed between my car, my purse, my backpack and random spots around my room, ready to pen my every thought. I can throw a pen in my purse without worrying about it breaking or making a mess. I can then fish around for it, click it once and am ready to go. For a gal always on the go, pens are a convenient essential.

I have an obsession with pens, specifically the Pilot G-2. The way the ink glides over my paper enables me to frantically scribble notes or to print my name, in block letters, on that hundredth application I was talking about.

­— Jessie Tremmel, op/ed editor


Ask any of my friends (or editors), I sometimes make mistakes, and I am sure you do, too. To be human is to be fallible.

That is why when I am in the classroom, I make sure to use the writing utensil that has its own insurance policy right on its rear end. These classic yellow tools may be labeled with a number two, but for this student, the pencil has to be number one.

During a lecture I sometimes need to write fast to keep up. A pencil allows me to go back to erase and rewrite some of my uglier notations. With a pen I would have to cross out and write in the margins, and that leads to cluttered and unorganized pages of class notes.

Pencils are also more flexible writing devices that allow their master to shade. A pencil user has much more control over the boldness of their lines than a pen user. And as a chronic doodler, I would like to say pencils are much better for drawing than their ink-filled counterparts.

I understand some of the criticisms of the pencil. The graphite tip writes too soft, scratches along the paper and always seems to break at the worst time. Well, it is true that not all pencils are created equally.

However, you can maximize your erasable writing experience by purchasing the right pencils. I recommend trying the Dixon brand number 2 pencils. Dixon pencils can be bought in bulk for cheap, write with a dark stroke and have erasers that work effectively.

It is true that pencils are not for everybody and all situations, but as a common writing utensil, I find them unbeatable. I know next time I make a writing mistake I will be prepared ,and that is why I will continue to push for pencils.

­— Sam Martinez, staff writer