One of the more difficult homophone word sets to spell correctly is “stationary” vs “stationery.” Even though they are pronounced the same, they mean completely different things. The only difference in the spelling of stationary or stationery is just one letter, one word having an “a” and the other having an “e.” This article will help unravel the “stationery” vs “stationary” writing spelling quandary.
Stationary vs Stationery: What Are the Differences?
Part of speech: Adjective
a. Not mobile; unmoving
b. Staying in the same location, position or situation
The car remained stationary after it ran out of gasoline.
Part of speech: Noun
a. Paper material used for writing
b. Writing materials commonly used for writing, including related supplies and materials such as paper, card stock, writing utensils and envelopes
The thank you note was written by hand, using monogrammed stationery.
Stationary vs Stationery: Tips to Remember the Differences
One method of differentiating between “stationary” and “stationery” is to remember that “stationary,” which uses the “a” spelling, is an adjective. One the other hand, “stationery” is a noun and spelled with an “e.” A second method is to remember that “stationary” with an “ar” can mean “at rest” while “stationery” with an “e” is related to “envelope” or "e-mail."