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Grey or Gray: How to Use Grey vs. Gray Correctly?

Grey or gray? Grey vs. gray is a topic that has been debated for a long time. The difference between the two spellings is subtle, yet it has caused confusion for many people. The choice between “grey” and “gray” is not just a matter of personal preference, as it can also depend on where you live.

Despite the subtle difference in spelling, the choice between “grey” and “gray” can have an impact on how a person is perceived. In some cases, “gray” may be seen as more professional or formal, while “grey” may be seen as more informal or casual.

Grey or Gray

Gray and grey are two spellings of the same word, which refers to the color between black and white. The difference between the two spellings is primarily a matter of geographical custom. Gray is more common in American English, while grey is more common in British English and other English-speaking countries.

The two spellings are both correct and interchangeable. However, it is important to note that certain industries and fields may have a preference for one spelling over the other. For example, in the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses “gray” in its publications, while the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) prefers “grey.”

In addition to regional and industry preferences, there may also be variations in usage based on context. For example, in zoology, “gray” is typically used to describe animals, while “grey” is more commonly used in reference to minerals and fabrics.

It is worth noting that some people may have personal preferences for one spelling over the other, and may choose to use that spelling consistently in their writing. However, it is important to be aware of the regional and industry standards in order to communicate effectively with a wider audience.

Overall, whether you choose to use “gray” or “grey” is largely a matter of personal preference, as both spellings are widely accepted and correct.

Spelling and Usage

Gray and grey are both acceptable spellings of the color between black and white. The spelling you choose may depend on your audience and geography.

In American English, “gray” is the more common spelling, while in British English, “grey” is more frequently used. The difference in spelling extends to specialized terms such as animal species (gray/grey whale) and scientific terms (gray/grey matter).

The etymology of the words is traced back to Old English “grǣg,” which means “gray, hoary.” The spelling “grey” is thought to have come from the Middle English “grei,” which is derived from the Old Norse “grar.”

Both spellings are considered proper nouns, and both are acceptable in the English language. However, it is important to use the spelling appropriate for your geography and audience.

Grammarly, a popular online writing tool, suggests that the choice of vowel does not affect the meanings of the words. The tool advises users to check the appropriate style guide for their geography when in doubt.

In summary, the choice between grey vs. gray is a matter of geographical custom and audience. Both spellings are acceptable in English-speaking countries, and the spelling you choose may indicate where you live or your audience.


In conclusion, both “gray” and “grey” are correct spellings of the color between black and white. The preference for one over the other varies between American and British English, with “gray” being more common in American English and “grey” being more common in British English. However, it is worth noting that both spellings are used in both countries.

When it comes to unit of measurement, “gray” is the preferred spelling in the International System of Units (SI) for the unit of absorbed dose of ionizing radiation. However, “grey” is also an acceptable alternative in some countries, including the United Kingdom.

It is also worth mentioning that “Gray Goose” vodka is spelled with an “a” instead of an “e”, regardless of which country it is being sold in.

Overall, whether to use “gray” or “grey” depends on personal preference and geographic location. As long as the chosen spelling is consistent throughout a piece of writing, it will be considered correct.

Frequently Asked Questions on Grey or Gray

Why did gray change to grey?

Gray and grey are both correct spellings of the color between black and white. The difference in spelling is typically regional. In the United States, gray is more frequent, while in the United Kingdom and other countries, grey is more common. The variation in spelling can be traced back to the Middle Ages when the word for the color was spelled “grǣg” in Old English. Over time, the spelling evolved differently in different regions.

Is it gray or grey in Canada?

Both gray and grey are acceptable spellings in Canada, but gray is more commonly used. This is likely due to the influence of American English. However, some Canadians may prefer to use the British spelling of grey. Ultimately, it is up to personal preference and context.

How to Use Grey or Gray | Infographic

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