Who knew that the letter ‘a’ could cause so much confusion?

For our first “Put it on Paper” minute, we are looking at the difference between the words “stationery” and “stationary”.

This is one that we see being used incorrectly all the time. It’s an easy mistake to make, and one that even those in the industry get confused over! But, we will break down each word, and give a handy hint to remember what is what below!

We can find the word ‘stationary’ in the dictionary defined as:

stationary | ˈsteɪʃ(ə)n(ə)ri | adjectivenot moving or not intended to be moved: a car collided with a stationary vehicle.

So it is an adjective—a describing word.

The word stationery can be found as:

stationery | ˈsteɪʃ(ə)n(ə)ri | noun [mass noun] writing and other office materials: a range of stationery

As a noun, this applies to physical, tactile items. This means items and tools for printing and writing used for events, offices, corporations etc.

So, how can we remember which is which? Just think of the fact that the adjective has an a in it!  For example, the ball lay stationary on the ground.

*update! Our friends at FO Photography sent us another fantastic way! Use ‘e’ for ‘envelope’! How clever is that?*