I'm writing rules for a board game. It's similar to dots and boxes, and I would like to have a nice general word or phrase to refer to what the players use to mark their moves on the board or paper, since one could conceivably use anything to do it, like a pen, pencil, crayon or even a paint brush if they wanted to use one.

The best I could think of was drawing implement, but that sounds too technical, and I'm trying to shoot for the lowest reading level I can.

I also thought about drawing tool, marking tool or maybe even just marker? What do you think?

  • 2
    Do you need to refer to the writing tool? How about just telling the players to write their moves?
    – Lawrence
    May 8, 2016 at 9:43
  • Not sure why you need to refer to the implement. Seems like you're deliberately painting yourself into a corner. They might want to scratch their skin until it bleeds, and write with blood using their pinky finger.
    – TimR
    May 8, 2016 at 14:34

3 Answers 3


Writing instrument, writing utensil, and writing implement are all rather common. They are not old-fashioned.

I think all of these are better than marker, which is standardly used only in the restricted sense referring to sharpies, felt pens, etc.


Just try marker - something used for marking.

A marker can be anything that leaves a mark or anything used to mark. Avoid using a sesquipedalian word.

  • 1
    I'm sure no one would do that as sesquipedalian is an adjective, not a countable noun.
    – WS2
    May 8, 2016 at 9:03
  • @WS2 oh my. I almost forgot. :)
    – vickyace
    May 8, 2016 at 9:06

stylus any of various pointed, pen-shaped instruments used in drawing, artwork, etc.

second definition

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