Gray or Grey – British vs. American English

16.07.23 British English vs. American English Time to read: 2min

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Gray-or-grey-01

An important factor of academic writing is to be consistent when writing an academic essay, dissertation, or research paper. It is especially necessary to keep a clear, comprehensible, and cohesive flow regarding grammar, spelling, punctuation, and votaxiulary. Most students cannot differentiate between British English vs. American English, for example when using the words “gray” or “grey”.  Learn how to distinguish this term in the following article with the help of examples.

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“Gray” or “grey”

“Grey” and “gray” are two words with the same meaning. They both explain a color between black and white. The only difference they have are the letters “a” and “e”. “Gray” with an “a” is more commonly used in American English and “grey” with an “e” is more commonly used in British English.

There is no difference in the meaning, and it’s not incorrect to use on form over the other.

Gray-or-grey-UK-example

British English

grey

Gray-or-grey-US-example

American English

gray

grey (not recommended)

As you can see, the only difference they have is one letter in the spelling.

Examples of using “gray” and “grey”

The following examples will illustrate the difference in spelling of the word “gray/grey” in British English as well as in American English.

Gray-or-grey-UK-example
  • She wore a nice grey garment to keep her warm.
  • The waves were a dark grey under the stormy sky.
  • The old woman’s eyes were an unusual shade of grey.
Gray-or-grey-US-example
  • She wore a nice gray/grey garment to keep her warm.
  • The waves were a dark gray/grey under the stormy sky.
  • The old woman’s eyes were an unusual shade of gray/grey.

FAQs

In American English, “gray” is more commonly used, although “grey” is not incorrect.

No, there is no difference in meaning between “grey” and “gray.” Both refer to the same color, a shade between black and white. The difference is primarily regional.

“Grey” is more commonly used in most English-speaking countries outside the United States, such as the UK, Canada, and Australia. However, because of the influence of American English, you will also see “gray” used in these places.

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