When were much younger, we used pencils to write and they came with erasers to wipe out our mistakes. As we got older, pens with ink were given to us but they came with a little burden; immortality. Anything written with a pen stays there, forever. There was no way to mask our errors. Then a savior came to the rescue, an ink that was more powerful than the ink traditional pens have; correction fluids. But these fluids have been around for a long time now dating as far back as 1956.

Today, correction fluids are a very common part of our stationery. Another innovation has made it easier to carry about; pens containing the magic ink- correction pens.

Apart from the obvious miracle of masking errors, correction pens have a few cons too but most people see it as harmless helpful stationery. However, the composition of the fluid says otherwise.


The chemical make-up of correction fluid isn’t exactly the same for every manufacturer. However, generally, the basic agents used by most manufacturers are a solvent, an opacifying agent and a fragrance/adulterant to prevent the fluid from being used inappropriately. The opacifying agent may have the following as its components: latex, polymer resins and titanium dioxide.

For the solvent (also called the ‘thinner’), toluene was used at first but was discontinued because it was found to be toxic. Moderations were made later and another chemical compound was used. However, it was also flawed as it irritated the skin. After several modifications, a safer solvent was developed. Today, bromopropane is the component used to make solvents. The catch is that it is volatile and dries fast. This makes the fluid solidify, thick and impossible to use.



  1. It can be very useful in masking errors on white and coloured documents as manufacturers produced the fluid in different colours.
  2. It gives corrected documents a neat and organized look.
  • It’s easy to apply and can fit into a pocket or a pencil case.


  1. It can be abused: the solvent is an organic compound that can influence and increase psych activity and lead to death.
  2. When used too much on a document, it does the opposite of its purpose; it makes the work look unorganized and presents the owner of the document as being careless.
  • When left for long, it becomes difficult to use because it thickens and would need to be dissolved with a solvent.
  1. The ones that are water-based take a longer time to dry and may not be compatible with some inks.
  2. Some persons opine that constant use of correction pens inadvertently creates a bad habit of carelessness on the part of the user. Hence, he does not bother about being careful since he can always mask it with “white ink”.

Usefulness of correction fluids

Correction fluids have not become obsolete but their use have been shifted to a part of the society and this varies from country to country.

A larger number of the consumers of correction fluids are students in high schools and very few in the tertiary institutions. Other sectors make use of it sparingly. With the advent of technology and things like Microsoft word, writing by hand has greatly reduced and thus errors can now be wiped and made non-existent because files can always be edited.

Correction pens are still useful but may soon be phased out.

Some popular brands are Tipp Ex, Joyko, White Away, Pentel and Liquid Paper.