Butting Heads: Pen vs. Pencil

Two writers go head to head to settle the debate: Pencils vs. Pens. Illustration by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

Alexa Potamianos:

As an avid stan of classic paper notes there is no better feeling than finding a smooth pen that glides across the pages.

I certainly cannot speak on behalf of the left-handed writers, however, there is truly nothing more frustrating than the smudgy gray stains of pencil and the scattered eraser marks sprawled across your paper and desk and hand. It creates a messy learning environment.

No matter the type of pencil it leads to frustration. The traditional yellow pencil loses its point almost instantaneously and breaks immediately when sharpened. I would argue that mechanical pencils are worse with their microscopic tips that snap at least once every few sentences. 

Pens flow effortlessly on the page without the scratch feeling of a pencil. However, not all pens are created equal. I will admit some can be splotchy or too wet for lack of better words, but once you find one you enjoy the feeling is unmatched. A good pen is dependable and instills confidence. I know if I have a smooth pen going into a big exam I am all good to go.Pens come in a vast range of colors which not only make assignments more aesthetic but can also help with labeling and organization. Not to mention they are far more fun for mindless doodling.

Lucas Masiello:

The argument for pencils is simple: the ability to erase. Gone are the days of mailing letters and handwriting official documents. The only reason for one to write a document by hand now is for personal note-taking or informal communication. If something needs to look good, it is now typed. Unless one needs to sign a contract, the need for pens is obsolete. 

Now, there is no need to eradicate pens from our writing toolkit, but pencils are clearly the superior personal note-taking tool. Rather than crossing out mistakes and wasting precious space on one’s paper, one can simply erase words that one no longer wants to document and replace them with what should actually be on the paper. Moreover, pencils are a far more cost-effective alternative to pens: for the price of one nice pen, one can buy an entire case of pencils. 

Overall, while both pens and pencils are dying breeds that our children may very well never learn to use in the age of typing and voice-to-text dictation, pencils are clearly the most versatile, cost-effective and modern option when comparing pens and pencils.