Stationary or Stationery?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Stationary" and "Stationery"?

"Stationary" and "stationery" are easy to confuse because they sound identical (i.e., they are perfect homonyms). However, their meanings are very different.
  • "Stationary" means "not moving." For example:
    • The train is stationary.
  • "Stationery" is writing or office supplies (e.g., paper, pens). For example:
    • There are no pens left. Can we order some more stationery please?.
stationary or stationery?

More about "Stationary" and "Stationary"

"Stationary" and "stationery" are homophone homonyms because they sound the same. They are not homograph homophones because they have different spellings. "Stationary" and "stationery" are both common words, and your readers will expect you to use the right one.


"Stationary" means "not moving" or "still." (It can be used as an adjective or an adverb.)

Example sentences with "stationary":
  • 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" (with an "e") means writing and office supplies (e.g., writing paper, envelopes, pens). (It can be used as an adjective or a noun.)

Example sentences with "stationery":
  • 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.

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? What are adjectives? What are adverbs? List of easily confused words

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