Stationary vs. Stationery


These two words are mixed up all the time. It's not a surprise given that they're perfect homophones.

In fact, if you google both words - stationary and stationery - you'll pretty much get the same results. Lots of websites where you can buy pretty paper and envelopes, right?

But no matter what Google says (about people's search terms), they're technically different words and shouldn't be used interchangeably.

  • StationAry is the SAT/ACT vocabulary word that means standing still. In other words, a lack of action - like a stationary bike. So A = no action.

  • StationEry is the word that refers to pretty paper and matching envelopes that women, in particular, love to buy from places like Etsy. So E = excessively elegant and expensive writing materials.

Don't get me wrong. I get suckered into buying lots of pretty frilly stationery too, so it's definitely a habit that I'm trying to curtail!

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Photo Credit: RambergMediaImages, AmyBPerrault