Difference between Stationary and Stationery

If there was a list of commonly confused terms, then this particular pair of words, i.e. ‘stationary’ and ‘stationery’, would be added to it. Students across all ages have at least once have used one word instead of the other. Now how would you explain to a child the difference between these easily confusing terms?

There are many words in the English Language that are pronounced the same but have entirely different meanings. Such words are known as homophones, and ‘stationary’ and ‘stationery’ is one pair among them. To avoid any confusion in their usage, the following article will point out how both of these words are different from each other. Let’s go through the points below and their detailed explanations.

Table Summarising the Difference between Stationary and Stationery.

Stationary

Stationery

Meaning

The word stationary means motionless or still.

The word stationery refers to things that are commonly known as school or office supplies.

Usage

It is used as an Adjective.

It is used as a Noun.

Example

The bus collided with a stationary jeep.

I need to collect some stationery supplies for my school project.

So, in the chart, as we can see that both ‘stationary’ and ‘stationery’ have entirely different meanings, and one can’t use them interchangeably. One has to be careful while using these easily confused words.

The Difference between Stationary and Stationery- Meaning

If you observe the spellings of both these words, you will see that there’s just a difference of ‘a’ and ‘e’ in both words. As a result, children often, while in a hurry of taking dictations, use one spelling instead of the other. When you write the word ‘stationary’ in a sentence, it acts as an adjective that means immobile/still/motionless. For example, “The stationary car in the middle of the road caused a jam.” Here, ‘stationary’ describes the state of the noun, i.e. the car. Whereas the word ‘stationery’ refers to the supplies like notebooks, pencils, erasers, staplers etc., that are needed for office or schoolwork. For example, “Sam visited a stationery shop.”

Examples of Stationary and Stationery

The examples given of ‘stationary’ and ‘stationery’ will help understand the concept clearly.

Stationary – The traffic seems to be stationary for a long time. (adjective)

Stationery – Ron got his stationery materials for the exam. (noun)

Stationary and Stationery – Conclusion

Summing up, both the words ‘stationary’ and ‘stationery’ are neither synonymous nor interchangeable. While using the words, one has to understand the context of the sentence. BYJU’S offers various articles on many such ‘differences between two words’ that students often get confused with.

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