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We say a bar of chocolate.

Do we call it "a bar of staples" as shown in the above picture?

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  • a bar of [x] implies the thing is all the same. Not (wait for it) stuck together.
    – Lambie
    Sep 21 at 17:38
  • 15
    This is a good example of the unusual case where there is a word for something in English, and the thing itself is familiar, but many native speakers aren't sure what the word is. Sep 22 at 4:51
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    This may not be the "official" word, but as a native speaker I knew immediately what you meant and it didn't sound "weird" or out of place.
    – David258
    Sep 22 at 15:12
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    I've generally referred to it as a "stick" of staples, and I hear this term about as often as I hear "strip".
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 22 at 17:48
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    Honestly, this is something I'm used to referring to by what it does, not by what it looks like. So, I'd call it a "stapler refill". Sep 22 at 23:57

2 Answers 2

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If we wish to be exact, or, perhaps, are looking for a stationery product, we can say a strip of staples. Office supply stores and websites sell staplers that are 'half strip' or "full strip". I once had a very long stapler that could take two strips altogether. A full strip (at least in the UK) seems to contain around 200 staples. 210 staples is a very common number.

Full Strip Staplers

Standard desktop staplers are usually full strip staplers. These staplers can be loaded with an entire strip of staples (hence the name!) and typically have a stapling capacity of between 20 to 50 sheets of 80gsm paper. Perfect for everyday use, full strip staplers are designed to be used on a flat surface.

Half Strip Staplers

Similar to full strip staplers but half the size, half strip staplers are great for light duty use within the office and will have a stapling capacity of between 15 and 30 sheets of 80gsm paper. They hold half a strip of staples and are also designed to be used on a flat surface like a desk or worktop.

What type of stapler do I need?

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  • 10
    Well, I'm a native (British) English speaker and I didn't know what to call these until now. Strip makes sense, but I don't remember hearing it.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 21 at 15:52
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    @ColinFine - it's familiar to most people who have to order office supplies. Sep 21 at 17:34
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    In my experience, we all just say staples. strip is a semi-technical term and it makes complete sense but I would not have thought of it until this question arose.
    – Lambie
    Sep 21 at 17:36
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    @Lambie I would also accept brick of staples, or even "thing of staples" or "thingy of staples."
    – DKNguyen
    Sep 21 at 19:10
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    @Lambie "strip" tends to come out naturally on the rare occasions people need to refer to the assembly in which they're supplied, e.g. "the stupid stapler won't quite fit a whole strip [of staples] in one go" (I've got one like that), otherwise "staples" or "box of staples" (which of course contains many strips)
    – Chris H
    Sep 22 at 10:18
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I agree with Michael Harvey's answer of strip, but as another suggestion for what a native speaker might call this if they didn't know the commonly used term, I think a block of staples would also be reasonable. It's not a perfect fit but would probably be understood by anyone who had seen one before.

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  • 2
    A row of staples would also work, I think.
    – Davislor
    Sep 22 at 0:33
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    A colleague at the office (Dutch) asked for a "comb of staples". Which confused the British colleague, but the others (German and Dutch) knew exactly what she wanted.
    – Tonny
    Sep 22 at 11:45
  • @Tonny I'm guessing that the German word is the translation of the English word "comb". So they understood by translating back to German. A native English speaker would consider it weird.
    – Barmar
    Sep 22 at 14:23
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    @Davislor I would assume that 'a row of staples' meant a bunch fixed to a document, unless the context was VERY clear. Sep 22 at 14:36
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    I've heard comb used for staples, and I had no trouble understanding what was meant. It's not the first thing I'd think of but visually there's a strong resemblence and it is sensible.
    – barbecue
    Sep 23 at 3:38

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