Point Made

They say the pen is mighty, but I believe the pencil is better


Photo Illustration by Ruthann Kimbrel

Spelling errors take up more room on assignments when written in pen versus when they are written in pencil.

You’re in math class, rapidly writing down notes with your favorite pen, the tip gliding effortlessly on the paper. You’re on a roll, but when you finish, you realize you did the problem incorrectly and need to start over. Instead of being able to erase it, you restart off to the side. It seems small when it’s just one question, but every time you make a mistake, you have to find a clean spot on the paper to fix it, and scribble out the mistakes. What would have been a single page of problems has turned into two pages, and your error would not have been as bad if you used a pencil. 

Many people enjoy using pens over pencils, but white out is not as commonly owned, which can become a big problem whenever you write something you don’t mean to on an important assignment. 

Pens can be great, as they come in more vivid colors than pencils, and are my go to for when I need to make multiple lines on a graph, but as someone who struggles to draw straight lines I find it extremely frustrating when I need to redraw a line but can’t since it’s already written in ink. 

Pens are also used to grade assignments – from homework to tests – and scores can often be calculated wrong. The person grading then has to scratch out the old score and rewrite the new score. Sure, the permanence of the pen guarantees that no one attempts to change their score, but the constant scratching out or the need to use white out is a bit ridiculous. 

Pencils are superior to pens because if you make a mistake with a pencil, you can just erase it and move on. Wrong spellings and math mistakes don’t take up more space than needed when you can just erase it and try again, instead of crossing things out and wasting more paper. 

People who like to draw and doodle, such as myself, also tend to use pencils, that way the drawing can come out the way we want. I tend to use pens as a second layer to make sure the original lines don’t fade or blend into any color I might add. You can also use pencils to color. Though pens do come in brighter colors, they have no where near the variety in shades that colored pencils have.

Pencils are also more reliable because they always write, no matter how hard you press down when you write. Pens often need to be tested before you can use them, such as the little swirls I put in the corner. Even worse, sometimes when I pull out a pen to use, it doesn’t write at all, even though it still has a lot of ink left. 

While it is true that pencils need to be sharpened every once in a while, mechanical pencils are available. Pencils of all types can break too, but usually it is the result of pressing too hard while using it. Fixing a pencil, whether mechanical or not, is also easy since it just means you have to sharpen it or click a button a few times before you can use it again. 

My point is while pens do have some advantages, pencils are the better writing utensil. Pencil marks are able to be erased when an error occurs, you don’t have to deal with random malfunctions, and both graphite and colored pencils are popular art supplies. So would you rather use a pen or a pencil? I know my answer: a trusty pencil.