Stationery vs. Stationary – Which One To Use?

Difference between stationary vs. stationeryA question students and a lot of  people interested in spelling words correctly often ask is how to tell the difference between stationary and stationery. These two words are not only pronounced almost the same, they are also only separated by one letter in the spelling. Since they are nearly identical in both pronunciation and spelling, they tend to confuse many people. This guide on stationery vs. stationary and which one to use can help. Below are some tips which can help you to tell them apart easier.



Stationery Definition:


Before anything else, the first thing we must focus on is the definition for stationery. Stationery refers to writing material or writing paper. It is what people used in offices, school or anywhere else to do so. In most cases, stationery comes with with matching envelopes.

Stationeries is the plural form of stationery and it just means a lot of writing materials.


One of the best ways or a great trick for remembering the difference between stationery vs. stationary is the letter ‘e’ in the former.


Stationery – has an ‘e’ in its spelling. Remember that ‘e’ and associate it with ENVELOPES. Once you keep in mind that the E in stationery is for envelopes or writing, then you can keep better track of the two. It will make it that much easier for you to tell them apart and spell them correctly as well.


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Below are a few sample sentences of the word stationery being used properly.


The stationery used by the bank was very professional and even had matching envelopes.


Tom was given a reprimand at work for using office stationery for personal use.


We loved the great selection of school supplies in the new stationery store that just opened up in the mall.


Stationary Definition:


The meaning or definition of stationary is far easier to remember and use than stationery is. That’s because quite simply, stationary means to stay put or in fixed place. It can refer to a person, place or thing such as a child staying put or a workout bike in a gym. Stationary is an adjective though.

An interesting fact about the word stationary is that it has actually been around far longer than stationery.


A tip for remembering the difference between the two is the letter ‘a’ found on stationary. Think of the word ‘Stay’ or ‘Static’ and correlate them with the ‘a’ and stationary.


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Below are some examples of the word stationary being used in a sentence.


One of the things which made the job easier for the crew was that the object was stationary.


Stationary bicycles are great for working out, but they can be boring since you don’t really go anywhere.


The lady became angry with her two kids who kept moving and she told them to remain stationary until she was done.


The stationary pressure from the wave system caused a calculation change due to the vibrations.