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When doing exams or homework, one might need some extra paper to make some rough sketch, before writing his solution into another paper that must be turned in. The extra paper does not need to be turned in. What is that extra paper called? Would "draft paper" fit?

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Many years ago, I think my teachers used to call it working-out or rough paper. – FumbleFingers May 18 '11 at 21:40
Tim, the "How to call" wording is incorrect in English. You should replace the how with what. You would benefit from reading the discussion at this link english.stackexchange.com/questions/150325/… – Tristan r Apr 23 '14 at 23:06
up vote 5 down vote accepted

"Scrap paper" or "scratch paper" are common terms for this, which may vary in English-speaking areas as this discussion shows.

The term scrap paper is very widely used and understood in schools and offices throughout the UK.

The alternative term scratch paper would be understood because of the widespread American influence on the language here...

Some American participants also used "scrap paper" depending on region, but might say "scratch pad"; I don't think there is a clear division in usage.

It's interesting to note that US-based exams like the GRE and SAT call it "scratch paper" but there are plenty of discussions in search results about "scrap paper" at these exams.

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In my experience scrap and scratch were used interchangeably by the same individual teachers. – horatio May 18 '11 at 19:58
For added nuance, I find that 'scratch' paper is what you use to do calculations on that are usually not submitted/handed in with the rest of the exam, but scrap paper is what it becomes when it's lying on the ground or in the trash. THat is, I find 'scrap' paper to be any kind of paper thrown away with the possible intention of being reused or recycled for -any- use, but scratch paper is only for writing on in a test environment not to be handed in. (again, in my usage; other people use scrap for scratch with no such distinction (I think)). – Mitch May 18 '11 at 20:30

"Scratch" paper is the usage I'm familiar with. I can't really find a derivation for it, but Google Ngrams has it appearing in this sense somewhere around 1890 or so.

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I have always heard that paper refered to as "scrap paper". I believe this refers to what should be done with the paper after its use.

Here is some additional research into the origin.

Originally called a scrap of paper

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"Scratch (work)" is what I use/hear. I would guess that it refers to the fact that the extra work tends to look like hen-scratching, or that it refers to all the work scratched out because it was wrong. Or maybe both.

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I usually hear "scratch paper" for the sheet and "scratch work" is the stuff written on it, but YMMV. – advs89 May 18 '11 at 19:49

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