Grey and gray are two different spellings of the same color.
The spelling gray is common in American English, while grey is the more common spelling in British English and other English-speaking countries.
In this article, we’re going to explain the difference between gray or grey and look at some examples of this word in action.
What’s the Difference Between “Grey” and “Gray”?
Like many words in the English language, the word gray has two spellings. Grey is the British spelling, and gray is the American spelling.
Despite the spelling difference, both gray and grey have the same pronunciation and origin. Both spellings come from the Old English word grǽg. Then, in the fourteenth century, the spelling greye appeared in the French poem “Roman de la Rose.” Over time, the second E was dropped, and grey became the most common spelling, with gray as a secondary, less prominent spelling.
So, when you are writing for an American audience, spell gray with an A, but when you are writing for any other audience in the English-speaking world, use the spelling grey.
However, when you are writing proper names or proper nouns, do not edit the spelling for British or American English. For example, always spell Earl Grey tea with an E, not an A, because it is a proper noun.
Incorrect: My favorite teas are Earl Gray tea and jasmine tea.
Correct: My favorite teas are Earl Grey tea and jasmine tea.
When to Use Grey vs Gray (Examples in Sentences)
The best way to learn how to use a word is to see it used in context. Here are some more examples of the color gray in sentences.
- I was learning about gray matter in the brain today in science.
- My designer suggested I change the background cover of my book cover from gray because it’s not a traditional color for romance novels.
- I think I will buy the gray coat because it is a neutral color that will match everything.
- Noah Webster changed the spelling from grey to gray in the late eighteenth century, and it quickly became the preferred spelling in America.
- Great Danes are a primarily gray dog breed.
- Gray is an intermediate color between black and white.
Now, let’s look at some examples of the color grey in sentences.
- Have you watched the new Fifty Shades of Grey film?
- Charles Grey was a British army general who took part in the Seven Years’ War.
- My cat Charlie has beautiful dark grey eyes.
- I admire Sophia Grey from Sense and Sensibility for her unwavering dedication to her own desires.
- The new office block near me is painted grey because it’s a neutral shade.
- Ruby got a beautiful grey sparkly jumper for Christmas.
Use ProWritingAid to Correct Your UK or US Spellings
You can use ProWritingAid to help you select the correct version of grey or gray every time.
If you’re writing for an American audience, you can set your language in the tool to American English, and ProWritingAid will detect any British spellings you might have missed and suggest the correct American version.
If you are writing for a British audience, you can set your language to British English, and the tool will detect and correct any American spellings. This feature of the tool is invaluable to me as a content writer, as there are so many subtle differences between the two forms of English to learn.