how do I call a universal tape

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Senior Member
As far as I know, sellotape and scotch tape are two trademarks, what if I want to borrow a tape which is neither of them, how do I call it? I know the tape for sealing up cardboards is called packing tape, but what a small one is?

  • gramman

    Senior Member
    I looked around, and the best terms I could find include "adhesive tape." It's sometimes referred to as "clear" or "transparent," and sometimes described as "pressure-sensitive."

    I might just call it "a roll of tape."


    English - England
    It is adhesive tape or, informally, at least in BE, sticky tape. However, it is also often called "Sellotape". Although "Sellotape" is, in fact a brand name, people use "Sellotape" for all adhesive tapes particularity the clear/transparent ones.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Adhesive tape is something entirely different—here, what we might use to hold a bandage on a wound.

    Yes, Scotch Tape (US) and Sellotape (UK) are brand names (and like other proper names are capitalized). I guess if I needed to use a non-trade name I'd call it clear tape.


    American English
    Scotch tape is a type of adhesive tape for me.

    In speech, I'd just say: Hey, do you know what drawer the Scotch Tape is in?

    That wouldn't mean it's that actual brand.


    Senior Member
    Scotch tape, like Kleenex, has become the name for the thing rather than a brand. All companies fight hard to avoid this, but not all are successful. I think I would have to say "transparent adhesive tape" if I didn't say "Scotch tape"... but I never do. :)

    Masking tape is also adhesive tape. So are packing tape and duct tape and painter's tape. To me, you have to add "transparent" to distinguish Scotch tape from the others.


    Senior Member
    USA English
    JamesM and perpend offer good advice, but the technical term is cellophane tape, which is nowhere near as well-known as "scotch (or Scotch) tape"

    Note, however, that we do not say "how do you call," which is a literal translation from some languages other than English.

    In English, it's "What do you call .... "

    And, it's "cardboard" (non-countable), not "cardboards." ;)
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