What Is the Difference Between Stationary and Stationery?
These two words are commonly confused as they both sound the same. Many learners are also unaware of the -ery ending to this word and use -ary for every situation. Stationary is an adjective that means to stay still or not move. Stationery is a noun that refers to office supplies such as pens, pencils, paper and envelopes etc.
Stationary is an adjective that means to stay still or not move. It can also refer to something that remains unchanged in quantity (e.g. population).
e.g. The car was stationary.
e.g. The lorry ran into the back of a stationary vehicle.
Stationery is a noun that describes office supplies such as pens, pencils, paper and envelopes etc, used in an office or school environment. The term is derived from the word ‘stationers,’ which refers to a business or shop that sells office supplies. The easiest way to remember the difference in the word ending, is to think of ‘e’ for envelope.
e.g. She locked the pads of paper in the stationery cupboard.
e.g. He needed to go out and buy some stationery items for the office.
- Alexander, L. G. (2004). Right Word, Wrong Word: Words and Structures Confused and Misused by Learners of English. Essex: Longman.
- Dowling, D. (2011). Wrong word dictionary: 2,500 Most Commonly Confused Words. Oak Park, IL: Marion Street Press.
- Straus, J., Stern, T., & Kaufman, L. (2014). The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation: An Easy-to-Use Guide with Clear Rules, Real-World Examples, and Reproducible Quizzes. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass A Wiley Brand.