Is it Rude to Write in Red Ink?

Historically, red ink has most often been used by teachers to designate mistakes on school papers, and by business owners and accountants to indicate financial losses.

But, what about using red ink, in general? Is it rude? Let’s read on below together and find out!

Is it Rude to Write in Red Ink?

In the western regions of the world, writing in red ink is typically reserved for corrections on your homework assignments, by teachers, and for record keeping in business by whoever handles the paperwork. 

That said, for personal writing, like notes, letters, or journals, you may use any color ink you want. 

There is nothing rude about using red ink instead of more traditional colors like black or blue.

All things considered, in parts of Asia, such as Korea and China, writing in red ink is reserved for writing toward the end of your life (think deathbed letters to loved ones).

How Rude Is it?


On the rude meter’s scale of 1 to 10, writing in red ink rates 3

While writing in red ink, for personal matters doesn’t indicate any rudeness whatsoever, writing in red at school, or for record-keeping, the use of rink ink may be confusing, undesired, and yes, it may even be seen as rude and/or unprofessional.

Why is it Rude?

Using red ink is typically only seen as rude if you are using it improperly for scholarly or business purposes. 

In other words, when used for homework, school assignments, or business use other than recording financial losses or for total final statements, using red ink is rude. 

Using red ink for personal writing, on the other hand, is perfectly fine and not rude at all.

Why is it Not Rude?

There is no rule as to what colors of ink a person may use for their own writings. 

Whether it be school or business notes, journaling, writing a diary, or writing letters to a friend or loved one, using red ink is just fine if you so desire it.

That is not to say, however, that the reader of your writings will enjoy the contrast of white on red (as they are more than likely used to reading black and blue ink).

Common Questions

Is it insulting to write in red ink?

It is not typically insulting to write in red ink unless it is used improperly for business record keeping (anything other than writing down financial losses is the incorrect use of red ink).

Further, writing your homework and classroom assignments in red ink may be seen as rude by your teachers (as they use red ink to highlight mistakes and corrections on your schoolwork).

Is it rude to journal in red ink?

Nope! There is not a single reason why you shouldn’t use red ink to journal if you so wish to do so.

The main type of writing you don’t want to use red ink for is official school assignments or business records.

What makes red ink offensive?

The use of red ink isn’t seen so much as offensive as it is improper in most cases.

For example, if you are keeping records for a business, doing school work, and using red ink, your work is most likely going to be seen as unprofessional.