Stationary vs. Stationery | Common English Mistakes


Stationary vs. Stationery

Stationary and stationery often cause confusion among both English learners and native speakers. They're homophones, which means they have the same pronunciation.

The only difference between these two words is the fact that one is spelt with an "a", and the other is spelt with an "e" - Yet they both have two entirely different meanings. 

In this post, we take a look at the different meanings and example sentences, as well as handy tips to help avoid confusing the two. 


Stationary is used as an adjective.

Meaning: not moving; unchanging in condition

  • She crashed into a stationary vehicle at the side of the road.
  • The doctors said that his condition was stationary. 

Here are some common stationary collocations:

  • stationary object
  • stationary vehicle
  • stationary target
  • stationary population


  • A cAR that is not moving is stationARy. 
  • a stands for "at rest".


Stationery is used as an noun, but it can also be used to modify another noun – like an adjective. 

Meaning: writing materials and office supplies

  • I own a stationery company that focuses mostly on supplying schools.
  • There's hardly any stationery left in the office.

Here are some common stationery collocations

  • business stationery
  • office stationery
  • wedding stationery
  • handmade stationery
  • stationery shop
  • stationery store
  • stationery supplier
  • stationery cupboard

TIP: Remember that you buy papER from a stationERy store.


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