‘Flier’ vs. ‘Flyer’

As I went to save our new fliers today, I wondered about the different spellings of this word. Is it flier? Or is it flyer? My personal preference is to use ‘flier’ for a leaflet and ‘flyer’ for one who flies. It seems, though, that there is no solid rules for this.

This is what the grammarist (http://grammarist.com/spelling/flier-flyer/) has to say:

________

Flier vs. flyer

Outside the U.S., there is no difference between flyer and flier. They are used interchangeably, though flyer is about twice as common as flierAmerican writers tend to use flyer for a small handbill and flier for one who flies. This is only a preference, however, and exceptions abound.

An earlier version of this post said simply that flier is the American spelling for all senses of the word while flyer is preferred everywhere else. Since posting the original, we’ve noticed that American publications display a definite pattern of distinguishing between the two spellings. But the two are so commonly mixed up that we can safely say neither is correct or incorrect for any sense of the word.

Outside the U.S., the issue is equally confounding. TheGuardian style book, for example, says “flyer, not flier,” while the Daily Telegraph style book says “flier, not flyer” (though below we include a Telegraph example that goes against this). Obviously there is no agreement on the issue, and the flier–flyer distinction apparently comes down to preference no matter where you are.

________

And these, good readers, are the fliers going up at UK universities over the next few weeks:

University flyer b&w 2012

University flyer colour 2012

Best,

Elisha – for http://www.thewritinglaboratory.co.uk

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