Stationary vs. Stationery

Stationary vs. stationery

It’s tricky to keep the difference between stationary and stationery straight. They’re homophones, which means they’re two words that sound the same but have different meanings (think flour and flower or principle and principal).

Stationary is an adjective describing something that isn’t moving:

  • All the cars were stationary at the red light.
  • I didn’t want to wake up this morning, so I just lay stationary in my bed.
  • The bus was stationary at the stop, waiting for everyone to board.

Stationery is a noun that refers to special paper you use for writing:

  • She had stationery with matching blue envelopes and paper.
  • Her monogram was emblazoned at the top of her stationery.
  • She went to the stationery shop and stared at the rows of fancy pens.

How to remember the difference: 

Paper ends in ER. So you can remember: Stationery is made of paper

Here’s a fun fact: stationary is etymologically related to stationery. They both originally come from the latin word stationarius, which can mean either a fixed military position or, starting in the 14th century, a tradesman who sells from a post or shop.

Maud Grauer is a content creator for Dot and Dash LLC. You can read more of her writing on the Dot and Dash blog: www.dotanddashllc.com/blog

 

 

Feet vs. feat

feet: plural of foot
feat: a deed notable especially for courage; an act or product of skill, endurance, or ingenuity
—Merriam-Webster

Feet and feat are homophones, which means they sound the same but have different meanings. Feet can mean the unit of measurement or the two body parts dangling from the bottom of your legs. Feat is an act you do that deserves awe.

Examples of feet
Stan bought three feet of licorice.
Stan’s feet are huge; he wears a size fifteen shoe.

Examples of feat
Stan pulled quite a feat when he finished his twelve-page paper in three hours.
Stan’s epic battle against the zombies was a courageous feat.

Quiz
Fill in either feet or feat in the blanks below. The answers are at the bottom.

1. Tina’s _______ can’t fit in my shoes because they’re too small.
2. Tina’s _______ of getting eight guys’ phone numbers in one night will go down in history.
3. Tina’s tape measurer goes to four _______.
4. “Wow! What a _______!” Tina said after she witnessed a stranger fend off a mugger.

Answers:

1. feet 2. feat 3. feet 4. feat