Stationary vs Stationery

The words stationary and stationery are often confused by English speakers due to their similar spelling and pronunciation. If you remain stationary in front of your computer, you can copy this lesson onto your own stationery.


Stationary is an adjective that means "unmoving":

Please remain stationary for 5 minutes.

Prices have been stationary since last year.

Do you see that stationary car over there?


Stationery is a noun referring to writing paper and materials:

Can I borrow some stationery?

This is a good stationery store.

No one uses stationery any more – the market is stationary.

The Bottom Line

There are two ways to remember the difference: a person who sells stationery is a "stationer," and stationery has an "e" in it, as does "write." Get one of the other of those facts stationary in your head, and your troubles will be over.

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