Stationery or stationary?

Bite-size writing tips for small business: Stationery or stationary?

Who doesn’t find this one confusing? I’m always seeing it misspelt and I totally sympathise. It’s a tricky one.

First of all, to clarify the meanings:

Stationery = writing materials (such as paper, pens etc)

Stationary = fixed in one place (for example, a stationary car)

But how can we remember which is which?

I learnt a simple trick a long time ago and it’s never left me.

Here it is:

Stationery. Think ‘e’ for envelope!

The only difference between stationery and stationary is one vowel. But how do you remember which one to use?  Easy! Remember ‘e’ for ‘envelope’, so stationery (with an e) is the right version for writing/office materials.

Simple! I hope this helps.

Until next time.


Alison is a Freelance Copywriter in Milton Keynes offering a range of services for small and large organisations in MK and across the UK.  For further information visit

Published by MK WORD STUDIO

Freelance Copywriter

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