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July 8th, 2010

Stationary/ery

This superb thread on Ask MetaFilter discusses myriad things people realized they were doing “wrong” for a long time. There’s a lot of comments regarding spelling and pronunciation, and I had to share one of my semantic reminders with you… because it’s geeky.

In short, the way I remember the difference between “stationary” and “stationery” is due to a mis-memory of The Print Shop. Yep.

The main menu for PS included a little graphic for each option, so banners would have a printer chugging out a lot of banners (remember banner paper?), calendars would have a paper calendar and birthday cake, and so on. The graphic for stationery undoubtedly had a nice looking letterhead… but now my brain remembers that graphic being a big, giant, stone, immovable “A”. Which is actually stationary, not stationery.

So where did the “A” come from? I have two theories: at some point I heard the “a big giant A is stationary” and it got into my noggin as being a part of The Print Shop; or, more possible, the graphic for another part of the program (the Font Editor?) got mixed up with stationary in my mind.

In either case, it’s funny to me that Broderbund assisted with my understanding of the language.

Posted in Childhood Memories

dissident July 9, 2010, 1:48 am

Stationary sounds like and spells like what it seems like, immobile. Stationery with an e on the other hand reminds me of ornery, as in unpleasant. So just by way of stationery reminding me of a feeling, I can remember that it is something that is supposed to stir up positive emotions… 🙂

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