stationary and stationery - the difference


 
Stationary means not moving.
Stationery is writing or office supplies (e.g., paper, pens).
 

Stationary and Stationery

The words stationary and stationery sound almost identical, but they are very different in meaning.

Stationary

The word stationary means not moving or still. (It can used an an adjective or an adverb.)

Examples:

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.

Stationery

The word stationery (with an e) means writing and office supplies (e.g., writing paper, envelopes, pens). (It can used an an adjective or a noun.)

Examples:

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.
 
Select the correct version:



 
 

 
STATIONERY IS THE CULPRIT

The 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.

E IS FOR ENVELOPE

Use the e in stationery to remind you of envelope.
 

See also:

What are adjectives?
What are adverbs?
What are nouns?
What are verbs?
List of easily confused words