Grammer Trap:Flyer vs Flier

We had a animated discussion on the topic today in the office, so I thought I would post an article on the subject I found at this site
I hope you feel smarter when you are finished!

When you meet a pilot, do you speak with a “flier” or a “flyer”?
When you put up a handbill, do you post a “flyer” or a “flier”?
And no.
Finding these words in the dictionary, you’ll see that “flyer” (aside from being a device used in textile production) is the alternate spelling for “flier.”
In other words, both spellings are acceptable, but as the dictionary definition indicates, “flier” is Number One and “flyer” is second banana. Some will try to tell you that one spelling is for pilots and the other is for handbills. Those people are wrong, and you shouldn’t listen to them. In fact, run from them. Fast.
Like any word that has different accepted spellings, it’s important to use one spelling to maintain consistency and avoid confusion. Most likely, these concerns are what prompted The Associated Press Stylebook to affirm that “flier” is preferred for both aviators and handbills, while “flyer” is reserved for certain proper names such as Radio Flyer.

Of course, proper names are always written the way the owner wants them spelled (even if they are abominations such as “Kane’s Kandy Shoppe”).

Kevin Leigh Smith, Do you have a Grammar Trap idea? Do you want On Target to cover a topic that interests you? E-mail your ideas to Kevin Leigh Smith


  1. Anonymous3:46 PM

    Uh, grammar is spelled with an 'a', not an 'e'.

  2. Good catch, anonymous!--but the article was still very helpful!

  3. Brenda11:51 AM

    You're repeating a post from Kevin Leigh Smith from 2006, but I would urge you to check Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. You'll note that "flyer" is usually preferred for the advertising circular. As someone in the industry, I have to say that flyer is more commonly used for the advertising circular, contrary to what Mr. Smith indicates.
    Just sayin...