Google Ngrams shows that "writing paper" is more common than "letter paper."

Which term is more commonly used to refer to this?

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1 Answer 1


In my experience (In the US), this kind of decorated paper meant for writing on would most commonly be referred to as "stationery". However, in the UK (and possibly other places in the US), "stationery" can refer to all kinds of writing or office supplies. "Lined stationery" should clearly describe this kind of paper even in other locations. Alternatively, "letter writing paper" seems to describe exactly the kind of paper you pictured.

In the US, at least, where "letter" is a specific size of paper that is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, "letter paper" might be interpreted as "plain printer paper that is letter-sized."

"Writing paper" would likely be interpreted as being a plain, undecorated piece of paper with lines, rather than the decorated piece of paper pictured in the question.

  • My father had strict ideas about letter etiquette. Only vulgar people used lined 'writing paper' (always called that). He bought pads of of unlined pale blue 'Basildon Bond', and each came with a loose sheet of paper with thick lines which you could put under the top sheet on the pad, and, as a guide to level writing, you could see the lines faintly through the paper that you were writing on. He also thought that vulgar people used paper with pretty designs on like the one in the picture, or with their name and address printed on it. Apr 27, 2022 at 16:56
  • In Britain, 'stationery' tends to mean everything to do with writing or printing at home or in the office - paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, sticky notes, labels, etc, and these days very often just means 'office supplies'. Apr 27, 2022 at 17:00
  • @MichaelHarvey I figured it might be different in other places, in the US it can have that meaning as well, but I've always heard it just referring to fancy paper. I'll make it more clear in the answer.
    – Esther
    Apr 27, 2022 at 17:01
  • In the UK it's writing paper or notepaper. Apr 28, 2022 at 8:57

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