Stationary vs. Stationery

by Heather

Lexical Vexations

Stationary adj. unmoving, staying in one place.

Stationery n. items used for letter writing, especially paper but also pens and the like.

Words in the Wild: If you don’t remain stationary while writing, your stationery will be sullied with deplorable penmanship.

I often see the word stationary used when the author intends to refer to stationery. Chicago offers the following mnemonic for remembering the difference: “try associating the er in stationery with the er in paper.”

Still vexed? You can find a complete list of the Word Blog’s lexical vexations here.

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