Gray vs Grey: What’s the difference?

Tomee Cseh

English can be a bit tricky with its various spellings, and one pair that often throws people off is “gray” and “grey.” While they might seem like just two ways to spell the same word, there are some subtle differences. In this article, we’ll break down the historical, regional, and grammatical aspects of “gray vs grey” to help you understand when to use each.

What’s the History?

Both “gray” and “grey” trace back to Old English as “grǣg.” Over time, as English evolved, different regions adopted different spellings. British English tends to go for “grey,” and American English tends to go for “gray.”

Historical Perspective
Old Englishgrǣg
British Englishgrey
American Englishgray

What are Regional Preferences?

The choice between “gray” and “grey” often depends on where you are. British English usually uses “grey,” while American English leans toward “gray.” But, it’s not a strict rule, and there’s some overlap.

Regional Preferences
British Englishgrey
American Englishgray
Canadian Englishgray/grey
Australian Englishgrey

Pro Tip: Choose “gray” for American locations, matching the ‘a’ in America, and “grey” for British places, aligning with the ‘e’ in England.

Grammatical Considerations:

From a grammar standpoint, both spellings are correct. You can use “gray” or “grey” based on your preference or regional conventions.

What are the Examples for Clarity?

Let’s look at a few examples to see how “gray” and “grey” are used:

  • The sky turned a nice shade of gray as the storm approached. (American English)
  • The British flag has a mix of red, white, and grey colors. (British English)
  • The cat’s fur had a subtle hint of gray around its ears. (Neutral usage)

What’s the difference between “Gray” and “Grey” in English?

In English, “gray” and “grey” are two spellings of the same word, with historical roots in Old English. The choice often depends on regional preferences—British English favors “grey,” while American English uses “gray.” Both spellings are grammatically correct, allowing for personal or regional choices.


In conclusion – “gray” and “grey” are two ways to write the same word in English. It depends on where you are: Americans like “gray,” and the British prefer “grey.” Both are right.