Gray or Grey? (UK and US)

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The Difference between "Gray" and "Grey"

"Gray" and "grey" are used in the US and UK, but, to play it safe, adhere to the following:
  • If you're following US writing conventions, write "gray."
  • If you're following UK writing conventions, write "grey."
grey or gray?

More about "Gray" and "Grey"

The color/colour between black and white can be written "gray" or "grey."

In the US, the spelling "gray" is far more popular than "grey," and this has been the case since at least the early 19th century. As a result, many Americans consider "grey" to be a spelling mistake.

Outside the US, the spelling "grey" (which has been around for nearly 1,300 years) still dominates.

It Was "Grey"

There is notable leniency with the spelling of "grey" and "gray." "Grey" is an accepted variant in the US (evidence from the US corpus), and "gray" is becoming increasingly popular outside the US.

However, for now, to keep safe and to ensure you don't annoy your readers, use "gray" if you follow US writing conventions but "grey" if you follow UK writing conventions.

A Video Summary

Watch a video showing 10 big differences between British English and American English.

Ready for the Test?
Here is a confirmatory test for this lesson.

This test can also be:
  • Edited (i.e., you can delete questions and play with the order of the questions).
  • Printed to create a handout.
  • Sent electronically to friends or students.

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? dived and dove e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? hanged and hung imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? List of easily confused words