Stationery

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Dr. Goodword
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Stationery

Postby Dr. Goodword » Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:53 pm

• stationery •


Pronunciation: stay-shê-ne-ri • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Paper for writing letters, usually accompanied by matching envelopes. 2. Supplies and equipment for writing, such a paper, pens, pencils, ink, and so forth.

Notes: Today's Good Word is a reminder that only one letter separates the noun stationery from the adjective stationary "fixed, not moving". A stationer is either someone who sells books and stationery or the shop they sell it from.

In Play: This word can only refer to writing supplies: "The office stationery cupboard was like a sweet shop for Rhoda Book." The meaning is so narrow as to preclude any figurative use: "Madison wrote his letter of complaint on personal stationery he purloined from an office mate."

Word History: Stationery comes from the same source as stationary, Latin stationarius "stationary, stationed". Peddlers roamed about in the Middle Ages, so the distinction between those who roved and were stationary, that is, had shops, arose. Bookshops owned by universities were some of the first shops, hence the more specific sense. For a long time both spellings referred to both things, then someone thought it would be a good idea to use the two spellings to distinguish the noun from the adjective. Stationarius is the adjective belonging to statio(n) "standing (firm)", a noun derived from stare "to stand". The root of stare appears in too many words, borrowed and native, to list here. (Today's Good Word came from long-time contributor Tony Bowden of London on e-stationery. )
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David Myer
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Re: Stationery

Postby David Myer » Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:37 am

I'm not sure that it can't be used figuratively.

For example "take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves". For me, look after the pounds; the pennies are mere stationery.

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Stationery

Postby LukeJavan8 » Thu Sep 12, 2019 11:58 am

some elementary school teacher told us the way to keep
the two word apart was to remember 'pen' has an 'e' in it,
as does 'stationery' (pen and paper).
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

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Re: Stationery

Postby damoge » Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:16 am

We were taught to remember the difference by remembering that "stand" had an a, as does "stationary", so the OTHER one was to write on.
Seems a good idea to me to teach both.
Everything works out, one way or another

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LukeJavan8
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Re: Stationery

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:49 pm

Never heard that one, does seem a good idea to teach both.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----

David Myer
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Re: Stationery

Postby David Myer » Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:03 pm

I don't really get this discussion. Why do you have to teach tricks? Teach them that a stationary vehicle is stopped and stationery is the stuff you buy at the stationers for writing and such.

I'm not sure this one is actually a problem. Yes people get it wrong but that's because they have never been taught. Mnemonics, tricks and rhymes can be useful for remembering complex or lengthy things, but sometimes it is just easier to learn the fact, isn't it?

Desperation. Separation. Desperate. Separate. One with an e in the middle and with an a. How do you know? Were you ever taught? And did you learn a trick to remember which was which? I think I just learned how to spell each of them.

Mind you, I do think it's important to learn at the right stage of your brain development. Picking these things up later in life is much harder. You may even need a trick to remember!


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