Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

Few things are more frustrating to an experienced stationer than to see “stationery” consistently misspelled.  While I am willing to concede that it is a rather mischievous word that may have originally been spelled with an “a”, I believe that most anyone applying for a professional position should be able to spell business stationery correctly.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there is actually a petition to change the spelling of stationery (as in paper) to stationary.  The central argument is that the majority of people conducting an online search for “wedding stationery” or “business stationery” actually spell stationery with an “ary.”   I haven’t decided whether this is democracy at work or simply a case of the inmates running the asylum.  I am sure that Mr. Webster would not be pleased.

After more research, I suspect that there is a more sinister plot afoot.  The culprit or facilitator of this assault on the English language is Google.  Rather than suggesting “Did you mean business stationery” when the user typed “business stationary” in the search bar, Google simply accepts the improper spelling. 

Business Stationary

Certainly, it is monetarily convenient for Google to capture their Pay-Per-Click (PPC) fees regardless of how stationery is spelled.  Unfortunately, for those of us responsible for mounting the PPC campaigns we must enter all forms of alternative spellings to insure that our ad will be found in a Google search.  Furthermore, even fine paper companies find themselves obliged to enter “stationary” in their meta tags and company description to insure that their pages will be indexed for misspellings. 

The final straw was listing a stationery store in Google maps.  Wendy Joblon, the owner of Folia in Dartmouth, MA was asked to list her store in one of the Google search categories:

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised, but I had hoped that Google would allow us to categorize our business with the proper spelling of stationery.    Google maps are most important for small businesses and we believe this function could be significantly enhanced if search categories were spelled properly.

Richard May
Organizer and Founding Member

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