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What would you say in everyday life if you wanted to buy them?

We need to buy some ______.

  1. pen ink holders
  2. ink reservoirs
  3. pen shanks
  4. pen rods
  5. small tubes with ink?
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According to howstuffworks.com, How Ballpoint Pens Work, it is called an ink resevoir:

The ball rotates freely and rolls out the ink as it is continuously fed from the ink reservoir (usually a narrow plastic tube filled with ink).

However, in a context where you need to buy more and you're at the store, I think that you should ask for pen refills. From Office Depot:

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    +1 for refills. You might also mention ink cartridges, which is the more common term for fountain pens as opposed to ball point pens.
    – verbose
    Mar 3 '17 at 9:58
  • "ink reservoir" is the functional name for it's purpose. Any container or cavity inside a pen that holds ink is the ink reservoir. In non-refillable pens, the reservoir is a cavity in the pen body. A replaceable tube of ink is typically called a "refill" when it includes the writing tip, or an ink "cartridge" if it contains only ink.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 3 '17 at 22:11

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