Difference between Stationary and Stationery

At a glance, stationary and stationery look very much alike. Stationary means “fixed,” “immobile,” or “unchanging.” Stationery refers to paper, matching envelopes, and writing implements. The words stationary and stationery are homophones that have exactly similar pronunciation, but there is a minor difference in the way they are spelled, i.e. one is spelled with an ‘a’ whereas the other has an ‘e’ in its spelling. So confusing them—and they’re often confused—is a noticeable mistake. Stationary is a condition wherein something is not in motion, whereas stationery is an umbrella term, for writing material and office supplies.

Difference between Stationary and Stationery


  • The word ‘stationary’ is used for a person or object which is not in motion, i.e. still. It can be used as an adjective or an adverb.
  • When something is fixed, immobile, or not subject to change, we can use the adjective stationary to describe it. Ex: I don’t care much for the stationary bike; I prefer riding a real one.
  • When we talk about a person or an object which lacks motion, i.e. stable at one place in a particular position and remains unchanged, we use stationary.
  • Hence, it indicates someone or something, whose position, condition, state, or value is fixed or stays the same. We use the word ‘stationary’ for anything which stays at a particular place and position, i.e. inactive.
  • We use ‘stationary’ for someone or something which is not moving, i.e. it is in a fixed position and condition.
  • The word ‘stationary’ is an adjective, which indicates the characteristic or virtue of a noun. Stationary functions as an adjective and describes things that don’t move or remain unchanged.
  • Example: I crashed my moped into a stationary car. You can find the best quality stationery at this shop.


  • The word ‘stationery’ can be used in a pervasive way, for all office supplies and writing stuff. It can be used as an adjective or a noun.
  • Stationery refers to the collection of papers, envelopes, and other things you’d use to write letters or cards. Ex: The hotel offered complimentary stationery to guests who wished to write letters.
  • Stationery is a comprehensive term for all the stuff required in an office, school or college for writing and printing like a pen, paper, pencil, eraser, highlighter, marker, ink, sharpener, ruler, envelope, register, notebook, file, books, paper pins, thumb pins, drawing sheet, paintbrush, colors, sketch pens, charts, geometry compass, post-it notes, binder clips, etc.
  • Further, it also includes tools and equipment used in companies for daily office work like a hole punch, stapler, calculator, paper clips, paperweight, pen stand, stamp pad, scissors, transparent tape, whitener, glue, and so forth.
  • Stationery is used for anything which is used for the purpose of writing and documentation, in offices, colleges, and schools.
  • The word, stationery is a concrete (material) noun. Stationery functions as a noun and refers to office supplies like pens, paper, etc.
  • Example: The doctor advised me to stop working in a stationary position for long hours. The manager appointed an office boy, to look after the use of stationery at the office.