stationary and stationery - the difference
The Quick AnswerStationary means not moving.
Stationery is writing or office supplies (e.g., paper, pens).
Stationary and StationeryThe words stationary and stationery sound almost identical, but they are very different in meaning.
StationaryThe word stationary means not moving or still. (It can be used as an adjective or an adverb.)
- We had to wait patiently in a stationary position for the school shop to open. (Stationary is an adjective in this example.)
- We had to wait stationary for the school shop to open. (Stationary is an adverb in this example.)
- The hostages were ordered to remain stationary.
StationeryThe word stationery (with an e) means writing and office supplies (e.g., writing paper, envelopes, pens). (It can be used as an adjective or a noun.)
- The office junior is in charge of ordering our stationery. (Stationery is a noun in this example.)
- The office junior is in charge of filling the stationery cupboard. (Stationery is an adjective in this example.)
- Save 50% on all office stationery.
Stationery is the CulpritThe most common error associated with this pairing is writing stationary instead of stationery. It is rare to see it the other way round.
This error occurs because many are not aware that the word stationery exists.