This is a guide to help learners to communicate easily in both speech and writing through a better understanding of the English language.
Stationary / stationery
‘Stationary’ means ‘standing still instead of moving.’
The bus collided with a stationary vehicle.
‘Stationery’ means ‘materials that you use for writing, such as paper, pencils, pens and erasers.’
The tourist wrote a letter on hotel stationery.
Stimulant / stimulus
A stimulant is a drug or substance that makes you more active and full of energy.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant.
A stimulus is something that helps a process to develop more quickly or more strongly.
The discovery of oil has acted as a stimulus to the economy.
‘Stimulus’ also means ‘something that causes a reaction in a plant or part of the body.’
A reflex action is a response to a stimulus.
Stoic / stoical / stoicism
A stoic is someone who does not show their emotions and does not complain when something unpleasant happens to them.
‘Stoical’ is an adjective meaning ‘not complaining or feeling unhappy when bad things happen to you’
‘Stoicism’ means ‘patience and calmness when bad things happen to you.’
Story / storey
A story is a description of how something happens, that is intended to entertain people and may be true or imaginary.
Have you read the story of Cinderella?
A story also means ‘a report in a newspaper or news broadcast about recent events.’
The Sun ran a big story about the cricket scandal.
We say ‘It’s the same old story’ to mean that the present bad situation has often happened before.’
A story teller is someone who tells stories, especially to children.
A storey is a floor or level of a building.
They live in a five-storey building.
Strategy / tactic / tactician
‘Strategy’ means ‘the skill of planning in advance the movement of armies or equipment in a war.’
It also means a well-planned series of actions for achieving an aim, especially success against an opponent.
A strategist is someone who is good at planning, especially military movements.
A tactic is a method that you use to achieve something.
Salesmen use all sorts of tactics to sell their goods.
A tactician is someone who is very good at tactics.
‘Tactical voting’ is the practice of voting for a political party that you do not support in order to prevent another party from winning an election.
String / strung / stringed / stringer
‘A string is a strong thread made of several threads twisted together, used for tying or fastening things.
Give me some string to tie up this package.
Puppets are worked by strings.
‘String’ also means ‘a group of similar things.’
Dan owns a string of health clubs.
In a string of pearls several pearls are connected with a thread.
If an agreement has no strings, there are no special conditions or limits.
Some people pull strings to get what they want. (They use their influence.)
‘Strung’ is the past tense and the past participle of ‘string.’
A stringed instrument has a set of strings.
A stringer is someone who regularly sends in news stories to a newspaper, but who is not employed by that newspaper.
Substitute / replace
A substitute is someone who does someone else’s job for a limited period of time.
As a verb ‘substitute’ means ‘to use something new or different instead of something else’
‘Replace’ means ‘to start doing something instead of another person or being used instead of another thing.’
Susan will replace Eva on the netball team.
‘‘Suffix’ is a letter or letters added to the end of a word to form a new word.
Suit / suite / suitor
A suit is a set of clothes made of the same material usually including a jacket with trousers or a skirt.
As a verb ‘suit’ means ‘to be acceptable or convenient for a particular person or situation’
Find a date that suits us all.
‘Suite’ is a set of rooms, especially expensive ones in a hotel.
It also means ‘a set of matching furniture for a room.’
A suitor is a man who wants to marry a particular woman.