Stationery or stationary?

25 Jul

The stationery / stationary pair mix-up is one I see a lot.  It’s an easy one to get wrong, but hopefully an easy one to get right (or else just bookmark all these troublesome pair posts, I suppose!).   If it comes to it, learn “stationery” as I’m fairly sure I see that more often than “stationary”, on the grounds that if you know one of them, you can work out the other one.  Or something.  Anyway, here we go:

Stationary – not moving, still.  “The traffic was stationary”

Stationery – writing materials.  “My wedding stationery has a pink theme”; “Have you done the office stationery order yet?”

“The stationery truck is caught in stationary traffic and we have no more notepads until it gets here!”

You can find more troublesome pairs here.


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7 responses to “Stationery or stationary?

  1. Nic

    July 25, 2011 at 6:57 am

    One way I remember this is that the e in stationery stands for envelopes, and envelopes are bought (for work at least) out of a stationery catalogue!


    • Liz at Libro

      July 25, 2011 at 7:11 am

      Nice one! I was trying to work up something to do with lEtter and A coming at the start of the alphabet so if it stops, everything else does … but that’s a good one – thanks for posting!


  2. Gill Rose

    July 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I remember that a cAR can be stationARy.


    • Liz at Libro

      July 25, 2011 at 7:29 pm

      Another good one – excellent and thanks for that!


  3. Tim

    January 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Stationers sell stationery. There is no such thing as a stationar!


    • Liz at Libro

      January 15, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Yes, indeed – that’s a good one! I may add it into the article at some point (credited, of course).



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