Stationery vs. Stationary

A Simple Trick

As the owner of a stationery store that sells paper, invitations, note cards, imprinted napkins, greeting cards and such, it has surprised me over and over that so many people don't know the difference between stationery and stationary. I think we covered this in elementary school so I knew it long before I ever owned a stationery shop.

We sent out press releases when we relocated our store and even though we had spelled stationery correctly on everything we submitted, many of the newspapers and magazines spelled it incorrectly in their publications. Which brings me to proofreading, but that's another HubPage for a different day.

Here is the easiest way to remember how to spell "Stationery" as in paper, note cards, invitations, letterhead, envelopes, etc.:

Paper is spelled pap"er" -- stationery is spelled station"er"y.

The other kind of stationary refers to being immobile, unchanging. So don't be "stationary" -- learn how to spell "stationery!"

Comments 8 comments

Jenny 7 years ago

I proof for a living and this drives me nuts! I explain it as E for envelope (stationery), A for at rest (stationary).

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Basketcase 7 years ago from Arizona Author

That is another great way to remember it! Thanks for sharing!!

Tracy 6 years ago

I'm using 'stationery' in my company name and fear that people will think I'm stupid because I'm spelling it incorrectly. Thanks for the great way to make them look stupid and me look S-M-R-T *LOL*

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Basketcase 6 years ago from Arizona Author

You are more than welcome. And even though many people will continue to spell it wrong, just smile smugly knowing you are correct!

Gloria  6 years ago

This was a great article, and it is a great way to remember, thanks

Beverlee 5 years ago

I find the best way to remember the difference is stationary is standing - a in both

Michelle 5 years ago

As a high school teacher, I teach my kids that the "a" in stationary is stationary - not changing versus the "a" changing to "e" when writing on stationery.

Syed 5 years ago


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