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Grammar Tip: "Stationary" vs "Stationery"

I know this isn't exactly a thrifty tip. Still, since so much is done in print and via email these days, avoiding even seemingly small misspellings and typos can make you more marketable in a tough economy. Attention to detail will set you above the crowd.

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To know whether to use "stationary" or "stationery" in a sentence, use this simple mnemonic:

  • STATIONERY is PAPER. The "er" ending is in both.

  • That means the other one, STATIONARY, means you or some object isn't moving.

STATIONARY = You AREN'T moving
STATIONERY = PAPER.

Happy writing!

Source: Seeing a misspelled instance reminded me of my English classes of long ago.

JustPlainJo, Springfield, Ohio

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 690 Feedbacks
March 17, 20100 found this helpful

Great tip.Thanks.

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

Loved it. Spelling, as you get older seems to fade, just because of not using it on a daily basis. On the internet lots has come back but tips like this are super for my tired brain.

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

This reminds me of my bane: I could never remember how to spell promise until I figured out it contains no 'ice'.

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

This was a good tip; and it made me think of another one that I see all the time "then" and "than". I can't believe how often I see someone write "I did this, than I did that." Or, "This is bigger then that." I guess then goes with when, so maybe that is a good way to remember.

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:)

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful

Long ago in elementary school, the nun who taught us English gave us a hint about Stationery/Stationary that I have used ever since. The hint was that the "a" in Stationary stands for "always," as in "always in the same spot." Never forgetting that simple tip made sure I've used the correct spelling for the past 50 years.

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March 20, 20100 found this helpful

Keep the tips coming! I am a huge fan of grammar!

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Diamond Feedback Medal for All Time! 1,394 Feedbacks
March 20, 20100 found this helpful

I love all this feedback! Miredor, I like your nun's take on this commonly-confused pair.
What cracks me (and my family) up is, I can still spot misspellings, even with a screen-reader program. I know my spelling skills have suffered because of it, so I try to remind myself of proper spellings frequently.

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And for my take on "than vs then," here's the link:
www.thriftyfun.com/tf13852086.tip.html

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March 23, 20100 found this helpful

The grammar tip I always remember - (principle or principal). When you need to spell the principal of your school, use principal (he is your pal - last 3 letters of the word). It always amazes me how some things you always remember - don't ask me what I wore to work yesterday!

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March 23, 20100 found this helpful

The mnemonic I use for stationery is similar to yours, Jo. StationERy is used for writing a lettER.

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April 4, 20100 found this helpful

That's a good mnemonic too, Mary Eileen. I almost like yours better, lol!

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Anonymous
August 31, 20170 found this helpful

Better way:

StationEry = ErasEr, pEn, pEncil
StationAry = cAr, Aren't moving, stAtion,

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January 6, 20190 found this helpful

I used to tell my students that stationary means it stAys put. Stationery means a lEtter.

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