Confusing Words

Stationary Vs Stationery

A famous confusion among the English speakers is regarding the words stationary vs stationery. Stationary is a word that refers to unchanging, fixed, or immobile. In contrast, stationery refers to matching envelopes, writing implements, and paper. At a glance, stationary and stationery appear very much the same. However, in reality, they are very apart from each other, both in function and meaning.  As such, students must not confuse between them because it is a big mistake. The spelling of the words stationary and stationery are different by just one letter. This spelling difference, although small,   entirely changes their meanings. The word stationary has been in usage longer in comparison to the word stationery.

The meaning of stationary is staying in one place and not moving away from that place. In contrast, stationery meaning comes from the word stationer, which means an individual that sells products which have a usage in writing, like pens, pencils, paper, ink etc. Furthermore, the stationery meaning refers to the things which a stationer sells.

Difference between Stationary and Stationery

The matter of stationary vs stationery is pretty confusing for many people. So the main question is how to remember the difference between stationary and stationery.

One way of remembering is that the letter ‘a’ in stationary stands for the adjective. So, the word stationary with an ‘a’ is actually an adjective. Therefore, the word describes someone or something not moving.

In contrast, the word stationery happens to be a noun. A good way to differentiate between stationary vs stationery is by developing certain associations. These associations would help people to easily differentiate between the two words.

For example, the letter ‘a’ near the end of stationary must be a reminder of “at rest”. Another example is associating the word stationary with military. This is because, both the words end in ‘ary’.

In case of stationery, one can associate the letter ‘e’ with ‘e’ in stationery items like pencil, pen, paper, envelope etc.

Stationary has more figurative meaning than simply the meaning of “not moving.” Furthermore, the figurative meaning is unchanging in condition or quantity.  For example, a sound that is consistent, unchanging, and steady, can be called as a stationary sound.

The word stationery comes from an archaic word known as stationer. Furthermore, stationer refers to a publisher or a bookseller. This is another way of differentiating between stationary vs stationery.

As you can see, both words are extremely different in essence. Furthermore, stationary is an adjective that pertains to materials or objects that are in a fixed position. In contrast, stationery is a noun that refers to writing materials like paper, pencils, pens, ink, cards, envelopes etc.

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When/How to Use Stationary

After understanding the stationary meaning, students can now proceed to understand its usage. Furthermore, in this way, students will learn how to use stationary and stationery in a sentence. Consequently, the matter of stationary vs stationery will become clearer to them.

Correct use of the word stationary is- “The monument stands in the park as a stationary reminder of the struggle of freedom fighters”. Incorrect use of word stationary is- “The hotel offers guests stationary as a complimentary benefit”. In the second example, the use of the word stationery must have taken place since there is involvement of writing material.

When/How to Use Stationery

Here students will learn the proper way of using the word stationery in a sentence. This way, they will understand the issue of stationary vs stationery in an enhanced manner.

Correct use of the word stationery is- “Mike usually keeps his stationery in the black drawer upstairs”. Incorrect use of the word stationery is- “I like to keep my car moving rather than keep it in a stationery position”. In the second case, use of the word stationary should have taken place since there is no relation to writing material here.

Examples of Stationary – Using Stationary in a Sentence

Below are some examples of the word stationary, thereby showing its appropriate way of using it. Gaining a proper understanding of it will help students to understand the difference between stationary and stationery.

Example 1: Do you hop on the stationary bike in the gym in order to strengthen your legs? Moreover, this example involving the word stationary is in the form of a question.

Example 2: Mike was driving his car and then suddenly crashed into a stationary vehicle.

Example 3: The tiger stays in a stationary position so as not to frighten its target.

Examples of Stationery – Using Stationery in a Sentence

Below are some examples of the word stationery. This way, students will understand the matter of stationary vs stationery in an enhanced manner.

Example 1: In order to prepare my books, I will require some stationery. This example certainly shows a particular need or requirement.

Example 2: Peter will go to the market tomorrow to look for some high-quality stationery.

Example 3: At the new stationery store, you can find beautiful cards for the upcoming festive season.

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