Home Guide English Vocabulary How to Tell the Difference Between Stationary and Stationery

How to Tell the Difference Between Stationary and Stationery

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Use stationary when you are referring to something being stopped. For example:

  • The economy is bad, interest rates are stationary.
  • The bus was stationary at the bus stop.
  • "Nary a move!" (nary means "not ever"/"never any") so that object is statioNARY!

Use stationery when you want to enjoy your paper, letter writing and pen supplies. For example:

  • I collect beautiful stationery sets to write snail mail to my great Aunts.
  • I bought my paper at the stationery shop.

Avoid confusing the two. These terms are commonly confused but there is a fun and simple trick to stop you doing the same. Whenever you mean the paper or writing supplies, think about the word "paper". It ends in "ER". The "stationERy" that you want to use is spelled in the latter part with an "er", not an "ar" -- just as paper ends with an "er", not an "ar". Think this and you'll be set!

  • As an alternative or supplement to the above, if something is "statioNARy" it is:
  • "Now At Rest", or


  • Keep a notebook to record your grammar tips and tricks; revise frequently.
  • Did you know that some websites specializing in stationery use both spellings in their search engine tactics to make sure that sloppy spellers still find their site?!