Stationery vs Stationary: What’s the Deal?

Spelling. It confuses the best of us. Is it their, there or they’re? What about your or you’re? Don’t even get us started on stationery vs stationary! It’s baffling.  

As a supplier of a stunning selection of stationery, we feel that it is our civic duty to clear up this age-old conundrum up once and for all. Don’t worry if it takes you a while to get the hang of it – even people who work at Paperchase spell it wrong sometimes (we will be casually recommending they check out this blog)! 

In short, stationary – spelt with an ‘a’ – means to stay still. If you’re stationary, then you’re not moving towards your favourite stationery shop (Paperchase, obviously). 

Swap the ‘a’ for an ‘e’ and you get stationery, which refers to all writing and office materials, from notebooks and pens to highlighters and sticky notes. It covers all the bits and bobs you use on a day-to-day basis for writing, doodling, planning and plotting. 

Stationery vs Stationary

Stationery vs Stationary: how to remember the difference

That’s all very well, Paperchase, but how are we meant to remember the difference between the two? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there as well.  

Stationary drill is a military term for drill movements that don’t involve any marching (like when someone shouts ‘ATTENTION!’ and all the soldiers stamp their feet and salute). Stationary and military both end in the same letters. 

The ‘e’ in stationery, meanwhile, is also found in the names of many stationery supplies, such as envelopes, pens, pencils and notebooks 

When to use stationary

Stationary is an adjective and is defined as ‘not moving’. Here are some examples of how to use it:  

  • I crashed my car into another stationary vehicle!  
  • We were waiting for hours in a stationary position. 
  • That piece of machinery is stationary. 

    When to use stationery

    Stationery is a noun and is defined as ‘writing materials and office supplies’. Here are some examples of how to use it:  

    • I must go to Paperchase and stock up on stationery!  
    • In order to write my letter, I need some fun stationery.  
    • I love stationery so much. I wished I lived in Paperchase.  

      Now, go forth with your brand-new knowledge and spread the word of the joy to be found in stationery! From pens, paper, list pads and highlighters to planners, diaries, letter-writing kits and sketchbooks, we’re sure to have something you love (or need). Don’t be stationary – buy stationery!  

      And if you really love stationery then follow us on Instagram to see stationery flat lays for days. 

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