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Stationary or Stationery?


It's very easy to get these two words confused! But there is an important difference in their meanings.

stationery

"Stationery" means pens, paper, and items like that which you might find in an office.

stationary

"Stationary" means not moving.

Here's an example:

"The drunk driver hit the stationery van."

or should it be:

"The drunk driver hit the stationary van"?

That all depends on whether the driver hit a van that was parked, or if it was a van carrying office supplies.

"The drunk driver hit the stationery van." - the van was carrying office supplies.

"The drunk driver hit the stationary van." - the van was parked.

Of course there's always the possibility that he hit a stationary stationery van ...

 

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Find the answers to grammatical puzzles like this in The Grammar Cookbook!