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Stationery versus stationary
There is a huge difference.
It is bad enough when I see fellow bloggers make this error. It is worse when I see fellow paper goods designers make this mistake. (Ouch!) But it is the worst – and by the I mean I’m this close to calling them out – when I see national retail chains and major online stores make this error. Why is it the worst? Because these major companies have a large number of employees, whether in the home office or in their brick-and-mortar stores. And nobody catches the error? Nobody?
I have been in the paper goods aisle of a nationwide chain of drug stores that had giant professionally-designed signage hanging overhead letting me know I was in the “Stationary” aisle. And just in the past few weeks, I saw a major online home decor site brag about the great deal they were offering on an exclusive line of “stationary.”*
No. no. no. no. And still no.
paper that you write on
Get the idea? StationERY is a thing. Whereas if something is stationARY, it is immobile, standing still, not moving.
Here’s my tip for remembering which is which:
Stationery with an E goes into an envelope. Think of the E in stationery standing for the word envelope.
If you’re still not sure, well… The only additional tip I can suggest is this:
Think of the letter A in stationary as standing for your backside, which is sitting down and therefore not moving. Your a– is stationary while you are flopped on the couch watching television.
When I told my husband that I was writing a post about this, he said, “Oh, is this like your fuchsia versus fuschia post? Or is this more of a rant?” He knows me too well, and yes this is sort of a rant. But if this post helps even a handful of people remember the difference, I will be thrilled!
*When I stood in that “stationary” aisle – and yes I was standing still at the time – I wondered how nobody caught the error. If nobody from the home office of the retail chain caught it, what about the company that was hired to make the signage? They always have someone assigned to looking at the proofs before printing. And if not them, then what about the employees at the specific store? Nobody?
And when I saw the major online store misspelling stationery more than once, I had to wonder why nobody from the paper goods company which designed the stationery being offered caught the error either, because surely they were excited to see their products featured on the front page of such a major website. Right?