Stationary vs. Stationery and other commonly misused words

There's nothing wrong with a little grammar goof here or there. But if all your notes are full of mistakes, it makes you sound less professional. That's why we've rounded up this handy list. Use it as a cheat sheet the next time you need to write a thank-you note, a letter or just about anything else:

Commonly misused words

Stationary vs. Stationery

Stationary means unmoving. This word is used to describe something else. "The car was stationary", i.e., it was parked.

Stationery is paper you use for correspondence. "My son's stationery has cars on it."

Accept vs. Except

Accept means you take something. "I am happy to accept your gift."

Except means you exclude something. "I love everything about this gift except the color."

Than vs. Then

Than is used when you're comparing things. "My grammar is better than yours."

Then means "at that time" or "next." "I sent a letter, then realized I had forgotten to hit spell check."

There vs. Their vs. They're

There is a location. "The cake is over there."

Their means belonging to more than one person. "Their cake is almost gone."

They're means "they are." "They're standing by the empty cake platter."

Your vs. You're

Your means something that belongs to you. "Your cake is gone."

You're means "you are." "You're going to have to go buy another cake."

I could care less

If you could care less, that means you care at least a little now. What you're probably trying to say is, "I couldn't care less," meaning you already care so little it would be impossible to care less.

Commonly misspelled words


What you're really trying to say: a lot

Alot is not a word, and allot means to distribute. If you're trying to say there is an abundance of something, don't forget the space.


What you're really trying to say: weird

What they should have been telling us in grade school is "I before E, except after C, or W, or in other obscure circumstances that will make you want to throw your dictionary out the window." (Foreign and height are some other exceptions to the usual rhyme.)


What you're really trying to say: mischievous

This is a three-syllable word that many people add a fourth syllable to.


What you may be trying to say: breath

If you're looking for the word that rhymes with Beth, skip the extra E at the end. If you're talking about the action of taking in air, which rhymes with seethe, you say breathe.


What you're really trying to say: calendar

Even though most people say "cal-en-der," the word actually ends with "dar."


What you're really trying to say: regardless

Regardless means "without care," so that alone gets across your message. Irregardless is not a word, but if it were, it would mean "not without care" - probably not what you are trying to say.