The Farlex Grammar Book > English Spelling and Pronunciation > Common Mistakes and Commonly Confused Words > stationary vs. stationery
stationary vs. stationery
What is the difference between stationary and stationery?
Stationary is an adjective meaning “not moving or incapable of being moved” or, by extension, “unchanging.” For example:
- “The car remained stationary at the traffic light, despite the honking from the cars behind it.”
- “Despite the company’s overall evolution over the years, many of its policies have been obstinately stationary.”
Stationery, on the other hand, is a noun meaning “writing paper or other materials used for writing, such as envelopes, pens, ink, etc.,” as in:
- “The stationery with the company’s logo on it finally arrived.”
- “I had a personalized stationery case in high school that I absolutely loved.”
Spelling Tricks and Tips
These two words give writers a lot of trouble, as they are very close in spelling and identical in pronunciation (/ˈsteɪʃənɛri/). Fortunately, there is a quick and easy trick to remembering the correct spelling. Stationery is usually referring to some form of paper, and is spelled with the letters ER; if we are not talking about paper, it will be spelled with the letters AR instead.
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