Difference Between Stationary and Stationery | Pair of Words

Difference Between Stationary and Stationery

Difference Between Stationary and Stationery

The words “stationery” and “stationary” are perfect examples of homophones in the English language—words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. This article aims to clarify these terms by providing detailed explanations, usage examples, and a conclusion.


Pronunciation of Stationary

[stey-shuh-ner-ee], /ˈsteɪʃənəri/

Meanings of Stationary

The word “stationary” is an adjective that describes something that is not moving or is fixed in one place.

Synonyms of Stationary

Motionless, immobile, static, still.

Etymology and Explanation of Stationary

Originating from the Latin word “stationarius,” meaning “belonging to a station,” “stationary” entered the English language in the late 16th century. It emphasizes the lack of movement or change in position.

As an adjective, “stationary” describes an object or situation that is not in motion. It can be used to describe anything from a parked car to a person standing still.

Examples of Stationary in Sentences

  • The car remained stationary in the heavy traffic.
  • He kept the camera stationary for a clear shot.
  • The Earth is not stationary; it orbits the sun.
  • The gym offers stationary bikes for indoor cycling.


Pronunciation of Stationery

[stey-shuh-ner-ee], /ˈsteɪʃənəri/

Meaning of Stationery

“Stationery” refers to writing materials, such as paper, pens, pencils, envelopes, and other office supplies.

Etymology and Explanation of Stationery

The term “stationery” derives from the Middle English word “stationary,” which means “a fixed position.” Over time, the meaning shifted to refer specifically to writing materials that were often sold at stationery stores.

This term is a noun that encompasses all the items one might use for writing or conducting office work. It can include a wide range of products, from paper and envelopes to pens and pencils.

Synonyms of Stationery

Writing materials, office supplies, writing implements.

Example of Stationery in Sentences

  • She bought elegant stationery for her wedding invitations.
  • The office manager ordered new stationery for the company.
  • Personalized stationery can be a thoughtful gift.
  • High-quality stationery makes writing letters a pleasure.

Key Difference Between Stationary and Stationery

The primary distinction between “stationary” and “stationery” lies in their meanings and usage:

“Stationary” (with an ‘a’) describes something that is not moving or fixed in one place. “Stationery” (with an ‘e’) refers to writing materials or office supplies.


While “stationery” and “stationary” sound the same, they have distinct meanings. “Stationery” is a collective term for writing materials, whereas “stationary” describes something that is not moving. A helpful tip to remember the difference is that “stationery” with an “e” is used for “envelopes,” while “stationary” with an “a” stands for “at a standstill.” Understanding these differences is key to their correct application in writing and communication.

Fill in the Blanks Exercise Using Words Stationary and Stationery

  • I prefer to write with a pen on _____ rather than typing on a computer. (Stationary/Stationery)
  • The ship remained _____ as it awaited further instructions from the captain. (Stationary/Stationery)
  • She bought a new set of _____ to express her creativity through letter writing. (Stationary/Stationery)
  • The office supplies store sells a wide range of _____, including pens, paper clips, and notepads. (Stationary/Stationery)

About Authoress

Mahnoor Jehangir is a seasoned educator and linguist, specializing in English language and literature. With a master’s degree in English and applied linguistics, Mahnoor serves as a subject lead, while also indulging her passion for writing, exploring the nuances of language and storytelling.