If you’re someone who struggles to remember the difference between stationary and stationery, or maybe you’re just finding out there are different spellings – keep reading! This guide will walk you through the meanings, provide you with clear examples, and give you a trick to guarantee you’ll use the correct version in your writing.
Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. We have many of them in the English language – over 6,000!
It’s understandable why the spelling of stationary and stationery can be so easy to mix up. The two words look almost identical, the only difference is one little vowel. But that one letter changes the meanings of the words entirely!
First, let’s start with some simple definitions and examples.
Stationary and Stationery Definitions
Stationary (adjective) = A person or object that is not moving
Stationery (noun) = Writing paper + envelopes, office supplies
Context clues are incredibly helpful, so let’s take a look at how stationary and stationery are used in a sentence.
Stationary in a sentence
- Traffic was at a standstill, the cars remained stationary.
- I rode 20 miles without leaving the house on my stationary bike.
- The rug remained stationary, thanks to the floor grippers.
Stationery in a sentence
- At The Anastasia Co, you’ll find stationery, apparel, and home goods.
- We printed letterpress wedding stationery.
- The stationery store had so many beautiful greeting cards.
How to remember the difference between stationary and stationery
Now that we’ve clarified the meaning of the two words, what is the best way to remember the difference?
Here is a surefire way you’ll be able to confidently use the correct spelling. If you’re a paper person who appreciates the beauty of a new journal, fresh planner, or loves to keep a stash of greeting cards on hand – you’ll want to hit File > Save As in your mind! ;)
Stationary: When you’re describing someone or something that isn’t moving, think of the letter a in stay. That person or item is staying put, not going anywhere.
Stationery: When you want to talk about paper, think of the letter e in envelope. Card, paper, envelope – they go hand-in-hand.
If you’ve made this mistake in the past, don’t sweat it. You don’t know, until you know!