Have you ever wondered how to spell “grey” or “gray” correctly in a sentence? They are two very similar words, but is there a difference between the two? It can be embarrassing when you use the wrong spelling of the word, so read on to learn what the differences between grey vs. grey are and how you can use the right word in your writing.
What Is the Difference Between Gray and Grey?
The spelling “gray” is more common in the U.S. while “grey” is more common in other English-speaking countries, such as the United Kingdom and India. The word grey and gray are both grammatically correct and have the same meaning.
The spellings are usually interchangeable except when used in a proper noun such as for the book titled Fifty Shades of Grey.
What’s the Definition of Grey and Gray?
Gray and Grey as a Noun
When referring directly to the color that is shades between white and black, you can use the word “gray” as a noun.
- “Her hair was gray.” OR “Her hair was grey.”
- “The asphalt had turned a light shade of gray.” or “The asphalt had turned a light shade of grey.”
Gray and Grey as an Adjective
The word “gray” or “grey” is most commonly referred to as an adjective to describe certain nouns or objects that have a pigment-like quality between white and black.
- “He wore a gray shirt.” or “He wore a grey shirt.”
- “There lay a gray cat.” or “There lay a grey cat.”
- “The gray sky was terrifying.” or “The grey sky was terrifying.”
Gray and Grey as a Verb
It can also be used as a verb to describe a person who is of older age. This is not a common use of the word but is acceptable.
- “She was gray.” or “She was grey.”
Examples of Grey vs Gray
- Earl Grey tea (UK tea) – used as an adjective
- Fifty Shades of Grey (British author)
- Space Gray (An iPhone color – US company)
- The Boston man noticed a bit of gray in his hair. (American city)
- The London woman noticed a bit of grey in her hair. (British city)
Origin of the Differences Between Gray and Grey
Both words, gray and grey, originated from the old English word “grǣg” used previously in old literature. As time passed by and grammatical rules changed, it transformed into grey. Later, American writers implemented a variation “gray”. However, both depict the same definition. Therefore, we can say that grey is used by the rest of the world (Europe, Asia, Australia, etc.), while America primarily uses the word gray.