Dictionary.com

Gray or Grey?

grayorgrey

Google and Vocativ recently paired up to investigate which words people have trouble spelling. They released a list of the most problematic terms by state based on search data, and the word grey appeared a staggering twelve times. So is grey incorrect?

Grey and gray are both accepted in the English language. They refer to a color of a neutral tone between black and white, and can also be used metaphorically to convey gloom and dullness. However, gray is the more popular spelling in the US, while grey reigns supreme in the UK. For centuries, the one letter difference between gray and grey has left people wondering if the two have different meanings.

Both spellings evolved from the Old English term grǣg and have retained their primary definition as a color, but many people have sought to assign gray and grey to slightly different shades. For instance, in his work Chromatography; or, a Treatise on Colours and Pigments, and of their Powers in Painting published in 1835, the chemist George Field wrote that gray “denotes a class of cool cinereous colours in which blue predominates,” while Field reserves grey to describe a more neutral shade. However, such nuanced distinctions are not observed in popular usage today.

EL James’s best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey, along with the blockbuster film of the same name released earlier this year, may have contributed to increased uncertainty about how to spell the term in recent years.

Rest assured that when it comes to the tones between black and white, both grey and gray are acceptable spellings in the English language. If you do find yourself trying to remember which side of the pond uses which spelling more often, keep in mind this mnemonic trick: England begins with an e, while America begins with an a.

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477 Comments

  1. Jenn -  December 9, 2016 - 4:54 pm

    I am an american and I always thought grey was a person name and gray was for the color.

    Reply
    • autumn -  December 12, 2016 - 6:31 am

      me too dude :)

      Reply
  2. Lowgen -  December 9, 2016 - 7:08 am

    gray is like the wrong word for grey

    Reply
  3. Professer Zajaczkowski -  November 1, 2016 - 10:10 am

    I think that both are correct. Our language is derived from the UK, so I do believe that both are correct. I prefer to spell it g-r-a-y instead of g-r-e-y. But, this is only my opinion, so it doesn’t matter very much.

    Reply
  4. PAL -  September 22, 2016 - 11:32 am

    I see it spelt Grey more often than Gray, and I live in the US. I think this would indicate that the English spelling is correct. Gray is incorrect but it’s used in America enough that it’s become accepted. Whereas Grey is universally correct.

    Reply
    • sadsadsa -  October 3, 2016 - 10:42 am

      HHAHAHAH

      Reply
    • The Boogey Man -  November 1, 2016 - 10:12 am

      Is spelt a word?

      Reply
      • Pbat -  November 21, 2016 - 6:56 pm

        Yes it is—in UK English. And to touch on the post, I like to think of Gray as a surname, like in Dorian Gray, and grey as the spelling for the colour.

        Reply
  5. Sarah S -  August 23, 2016 - 6:45 pm

    Gay or gey?

    Reply
    • Cade_M1756 -  August 24, 2016 - 9:38 am

      Grey or gray i say grey

      Reply
      • TheSnapback -  September 25, 2016 - 10:34 am

        I say gray, because it makes the most sense. Like the word gay, it ends with ay. Like with pay, it ends with ay. Words like turkey have an ee sound at the end. I am from the US, so I say gray.

        Reply
        • Chives -  September 27, 2016 - 5:35 pm

          Hmm. I like gray better, because I just think it looks better. I like A’s more than E’s. My sister prefers grey, however. We argued over which was correct once so we looked it up in the dictionary… and found we were both correct. XD

          Reply
    • Cade_M1756 -  August 24, 2016 - 9:39 am

      XD

      Reply
    • h -  October 23, 2016 - 9:57 am

      DON’T BE A NUB!

      Reply
    • Rachel Limb -  November 20, 2016 - 6:36 pm

      LOL! excellent question! I think I’ll start using gay to mean homosexual and gey to mean happy. :)

      Reply
  6. Minez -  March 13, 2016 - 7:43 am

    English Subject uses GREY in Indonesia

    Reply
  7. Jim Brown -  January 29, 2016 - 5:38 pm

    So where is the distribution! Follow through with this.
    Usage is also surveyed in the TV show Family Feud but then they tells us the answers along with # of people in the studio audience. And that pie chart showing the proportion of fans who wanted Denver to win over New England in the AFC championship showed clearly that 5% were Denver fans while 95% were not but just wanted New England to lose.

    We barrel of monkeys do not need metaphysics but do need survey results!

    Reply
  8. Teresa Congdon -  January 23, 2016 - 8:44 am

    E.L. James is from England, so that’s the reason she used “grey” instead of “gray” in the title of her book…

    Reply
  9. Chris -  January 2, 2016 - 9:06 am

    And I see that at least a couple times someone wrote “spelt” when referring to past tense of spell, but spelt is a fish and as such is spelled correctly. Would that person claim the different spelling was the result of the English use versus American? Or, would that be just a gray area? Hmmm.

    Reply
    • Lance E Sloan -  January 7, 2016 - 4:48 am

      “Spelt” is the name of a grain. It doesn’t seem to refer to a kind of fish. You’re probably thinking of “smelt”.

      Reply
    • Teresa Congdon -  January 23, 2016 - 8:42 am

      E.L. James is from England, so that’s the reason she used “grey” instead of “gray” in the title of her book…

      Reply
      • Teresa Congdon -  January 23, 2016 - 8:43 am

        Sorry, wrong place to comment…

        Reply
    • Damion Yates -  January 24, 2016 - 12:55 am

      Spelt is the past tense for spell, it’s just an older term more often used in the UK. There you go, you’ve learnt something this fortnight whilst reading things on the Internet.

      Reply
    • boi -  September 6, 2016 - 1:34 pm

      grey or gray i say grey

      Reply
  10. Fire Spinner -  November 20, 2015 - 12:24 am

    I just read the words grey and gray so many times, neither spelling looks right anymore D’;

    Reply
    • Taryn -  March 31, 2016 - 6:36 pm

      Agreed.

      Reply
  11. Ophelia -  October 4, 2015 - 10:28 am

    I can’t believe I was halfway through the debate and nobody had mentioned Grey’s Anatomy.
    So here I go… Grey’s Anatomy is an American television series based on the English Henry Gray’s “Gray’s Anatomy”.
    Shite

    Reply
    • Susan -  November 7, 2015 - 6:08 pm

      Yes it does make world play with the book Gray’s Anatomy but the show is spelled with an e because that is the spelling of the lead character’s name.

      Reply
    • Lance E Sloan -  January 7, 2016 - 4:53 am

      I had forgotten that the author’s name was Gray. However, as another person commented, the series is based on a character whose name is Grey and is in medicine, so the series title is meant as a pun on the book title.

      Since both Gray and Grey are possible names, one must pay attention to the spelling to treat people with those names respectfully.

      Reply
      • Lance E Sloan -  January 7, 2016 - 4:55 am

        And I meant to add: There’s also Earl Grey. There’s a TV series based on his life, too, “My Name Is Earl”. ;)

        Reply
      • Teresa Congdon -  January 23, 2016 - 8:56 am

        Yeah, I don’t get it. There is actually a medical book (I used it in college) called Gray’s anatomy and the author’s last name is, of course, Gray. The kicker is that he is from England, so you’d think his last name would’ve been spelled “Grey” and, therefore, the book…

        Reply
        • Suzibeth -  July 21, 2016 - 1:59 pm

          In Australia (and the UK), you usually find ‘grey’ for the colour, and ‘Gray’ for the surname. You will sometimes see ‘Gray’ as a surname too. You won’t see ‘gray’ used for colour (unless someone’s been reading a lot of books from the US!) :) And yes, you will see ‘colour’ for your color, and ‘favourite’ for your ‘favorite’, not to mention our words that end in ‘re’and not ér’…

          Reply
  12. Judy B -  July 18, 2015 - 2:26 am

    I’ve always understood that “grey” is a color.
    “Gray” is a (first or last) name.

    Reply
    • Julio -  July 21, 2015 - 6:52 am

      A couple of notable exceptions…

      Earl Grey tea is (reportedly) named for Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister of the U.K., 1830-34.

      The Grey Cup, presented to the champion team of the Canadian Football League, is named for Albert, 4th Earl Grey, Governor-General of Canada from 1904-11.

      Reply
    • interested in English -  September 1, 2015 - 7:06 pm

      I thought the same…
      We have a street here, Gray/Grey St…
      One end of the road the sign says GRAY, the other says GREY!
      rather UNUSUAL… don’t know why there are two spellings!
      just 2 confuse people like us I suppose!

      Reply
      • Mark B -  May 4, 2016 - 10:27 am

        That’s funny, you should write to the town transportation department and ask for clarification on and at what point/number on your street does the spelling change?
        Or does the spelling refer to one side or the other. That should get a few heads scratching for a while.

        Reply
  13. REPLY -  July 7, 2015 - 8:12 pm

    reply to this comment

    Reply
    • bruh -  July 7, 2015 - 8:13 pm

      bruh

      Reply
      • Bruh -  October 27, 2015 - 3:16 am

        Bruuuuuh!

        Reply
        • Um -  August 9, 2016 - 6:06 pm

          Ummmmm…..

          Reply
    • Lilly -  July 8, 2015 - 8:36 pm

      ok

      Reply
    • interested in English -  September 1, 2015 - 7:41 pm

      u said 2

      Reply
    • Shelby -  December 31, 2015 - 7:57 am

      Funny…I used the word “gray” for the color of hair and “grey” for the color of shoes or clothing. Never thought about it until I texted someone, looked at the word and they questioned the spelling

      Reply
  14. goofy guy -  July 7, 2015 - 8:28 am

    is it just me or has dictionary.com suddenly changed?
    what happened to the ‘word dynamo’ etc?
    boohoo its all different and nobody told me anything about it – i’m so hard done by

    Reply
    • imy -  July 7, 2015 - 5:04 pm

      My last name is gray so i think the colour grey should be spelt GREY. and as a name spelt GRAY.

      Reply
      • TLH -  May 28, 2016 - 9:12 pm

        Noticed that you “spelt vs spelled” color as the British colour. I think you are on to something: Gray – last name
        Grey – color.

        Reply
    • Rosylann Williams -  July 7, 2015 - 8:20 pm

      The dictionary has changed and it changes all the time

      Reply
    • Colin -  July 8, 2015 - 5:14 am

      They did email everyone on their mailing list about being taken away. I’m very annoyed about it too, but there’s not much that can be done about it.

      Reply
      • interested in English -  September 1, 2015 - 7:42 pm

        we could start a petition!

        Reply
  15. Peter Swanson -  July 6, 2015 - 1:22 pm

    This debate is in the same category as “Which is the correct way to turn the toilet paper roll?” It completely subjective, and probably depends entirely on what one became accustomed to when growing up.

    Reply
    • Jake -  July 6, 2015 - 5:36 pm

      I use gray for the color and Grey referring to a persons name.
      People can use whatever spelling they like.

      Reply
      • Robert Gray -  August 16, 2015 - 12:20 am

        Why would you use Grey for someone’s name if it’s spelled with an A?

        Reply
        • interested in English -  September 1, 2015 - 7:44 pm

          GOOD POINT!!
          exactly… write names as they are spelt and choose for the rest of it!
          there’s an app for that, its called “RESPECT”

          Reply
    • Rosylann Williams -  July 7, 2015 - 8:13 pm

      Why am I taking this test?

      Reply
      • Frank Casale -  July 17, 2015 - 2:07 pm

        So you can expand your knowledge of the English language!

        Reply
    • Rosylann Williams -  July 7, 2015 - 8:22 pm

      Which way to turn the toilet paper roll is an individual thing.

      Reply
      • Frank Casale -  July 17, 2015 - 2:11 pm

        Let’s get back to Rocket Science!

        Reply
      • Frank -  May 16, 2016 - 10:06 am

        No it’s NOT! The toilet paper should clearly come OVER the top towards the front! Why would Anyone make it any different? Is there ANY logical reason for putting the toilet paper so that it unrolls from the BACK of the roll?? NO!

        Reply
        • Pam -  May 20, 2016 - 10:11 pm

          Actually there is a good reason to put the toilet paper towards the back. It tears easier. Usually without extra or unwanted tissue. When you have small children in the house everything adds up and the less fuss the better. But like all things it’s just a matter of opinion. It’s your home so things should be as each person is comfortable with. People spend way to much time on things that are unimportant. To each their own.

          Reply
        • Princess -  November 1, 2016 - 10:36 am

          Wow! I never new anyone was so fussy about a toilette paper roll! I’m usually fussy about everything!

          (This is not a real princess)

          Reply
    • Infinitive -  August 31, 2016 - 9:40 am

      Well, I learned the toilet paper roll as being dependent on one thing.
      Cats, or no cats.
      If cats, you flip it backwards so that they can’t as easily unroll the entire roll.
      If no cats, you keep the roll forwards, because that’s easier on humans,

      Grey/Gray is entirely subjective.

      Reply
      • wow -  December 9, 2016 - 7:49 am

        @Infinitive

        Agreed. Our cats do that all the time, but we do not switch it.

        Reply
  16. hamin -  July 6, 2015 - 12:58 pm

    it’s gray not grey

    Reply
    • Rosylann Williams -  July 7, 2015 - 8:15 pm

      Gray is more common

      Reply
      • Cody -  September 16, 2015 - 6:20 pm

        I never even seen gray spelled with a a before today grey is more common

        Reply
        • tyler -  August 29, 2016 - 5:36 pm

          Me too, i was always taught grey

          Reply
    • Prabahar -  July 8, 2015 - 5:10 am

      I checked in the books, see if this is correct:
      British variant of gray is grey
      American variant of grey is grey…

      Reply
  17. Joshua Gray -  July 6, 2015 - 7:09 am

    Correction, the letters of our modern English alphabet stem from the Latin Alphabet while the English Language itself was first written in Runes.

    Reply
    • Rad Thomas -  August 7, 2015 - 12:54 am

      Poppycock! When runes were in common (sic) use the English language did not exist.

      Reply
  18. jessie.h -  July 5, 2015 - 5:38 pm

    wow! i thought the oppisite!!

    Reply
  19. Ellla -  July 4, 2015 - 3:37 pm

    OMG! These comments are all from 2015 and there are over 300!
    I’m wondering how Dictionary.com got the special character ǣ.

    Reply
    • Ella -  July 4, 2015 - 3:37 pm

      Sorry everyone! Misspelled my own name!!!!!

      Reply
      • Ella -  July 7, 2015 - 8:22 am

        Hey Ella! My name’s Ella too!
        Until now i thought it was hard to misspell Ella!
        Guess I was wrong!
        :)

        -Ella

        Reply
        • Prabahar -  July 8, 2015 - 5:05 am

          Just want to quote on this.

          In a famous language Tamil, ELLA means everything…

          Reply
    • priya -  July 7, 2015 - 10:17 am

      might be the same way you got it!! :P

      Reply
      • Bruh -  July 8, 2015 - 12:05 pm

        Bruh.

        Reply
        • Ipso Facto -  July 9, 2015 - 7:26 am

          Groot

          Reply
  20. Bob -  July 3, 2015 - 6:20 pm

    I use grey cuz I like to

    Reply
    • Bruh -  July 8, 2015 - 12:05 pm

      bruh

      Reply
      • Ipso Facto -  July 9, 2015 - 7:25 am

        Meh

        Reply
      • interested in English -  September 1, 2015 - 7:46 pm

        can u keep your ‘bruh’ s to yourself!

        Reply
  21. Chadjc -  July 2, 2015 - 9:53 am

    Gleaned from the comments: 1) names can be either, and colors can be either; 2) people like what they grew up with; 3) both are widespread.

    I dislike very much the idea of darker colors being ‘gray’ and lighter colors being ‘grey’ because when you call something gray it implies a degree of ambiguity. If you need to be specific you need to use more words (that’s why we have so many of them).

    More pressing, are we going to use ‘grayscale’ or ‘greyscale’ in the design world? Are Americans going to us ‘grayscale’ and British to use ‘greyscale’?

    Reply
  22. Jack Rice -  July 1, 2015 - 10:09 am

    Goodness, the article said use either, so there should be no debate. And yet the discussion goes on and on as there were no article.

    As for school, teachers just want consistency.

    Reply
    • Jill C. -  July 4, 2015 - 10:38 pm

      Some people simply like to argue with themselves!

      Reply
      • Rich L. -  July 6, 2015 - 11:14 am

        No we don’t!

        Reply
        • Rich L. -  July 6, 2015 - 11:14 am

          Yes we do!

          Reply
          • hamin -  July 6, 2015 - 12:59 pm

            yes

          • interested in English -  September 3, 2015 - 11:24 pm

            No

          • matthew.ishappynow -  May 21, 2016 - 10:43 pm

            yes!

    • Lady Love -  July 7, 2015 - 8:11 am

      The article states both are correct, so it is a matter of choice. You are right, no debate necessary.

      Reply
  23. Andrea -  July 1, 2015 - 7:49 am

    Wow! this conversation is so interesting… I see it’s been going on for a month now it’s July so I know I am late but I just wanted to add my two cents.
    I have been painting since I was a child and both gray and grey meant the same to me, just as color and colour but also including peoples names.
    Also, working in the customer service field for years I have seen people with both first and last names spelled both ways regardless where they are from. It just always didn’t matter to me which spelling I used because in my mind it’s all the same.
    I use either spelling usually based on how it looks in the sentence I am writing at the time.

    Reply
    • Bruh -  July 8, 2015 - 12:06 pm

      bruh

      Reply
      • somebody -  July 13, 2015 - 5:06 am

        spammer!

        Reply
  24. Kaciekk -  June 30, 2015 - 1:38 pm

    As most people think, grey is English, while gray is American. But even so, I believe gray is darker than grey.

    Reply
    • interested in English -  September 4, 2015 - 12:10 am

      I agree…
      Gray is heavier than Grey!!

      Reply
  25. Swift -  June 29, 2015 - 7:57 pm

    I use “GRAY” as the term to point out the color, and “GREY” as an actual person’s first name. I know people with the first name “GREY” and they spell it with the “E.”

    Reply
    • Captain Rick -  June 30, 2015 - 9:57 am

      I have known six different people whose last name was Gray. Therefore, I have always associated “Gray” as being a noun, and “Grey” as being an adjective, as being a color.

      Reply
      • Amber -  July 4, 2015 - 8:04 am

        @Captain Rick: I feel the same. My last name is “Gray,” so I tend to treat that spelling as a name. I spell “grey” when I refer to the color/shade.

        Funny enough, I’m American, but I spell it with an ‘e’ the way British people do, unless I’m referring to my family name.

        For me, it’s just a preference. Like the article says, either spelling is fine.

        Reply
        • Bob -  July 7, 2015 - 1:45 pm

          Wait … your name is Amber Gray? That’s pretty cool.

          Reply
          • rick -  August 5, 2015 - 3:17 pm

            No, Bob… not cool. It is colorful.

      • greeeeeeeeey color -  October 16, 2015 - 9:00 pm

        Correct

        Reply
  26. Mz Katie -  June 29, 2015 - 10:47 am

    I like that comment about using “slate”, especially in academic circles, then you won’t have to worry about which spelling is considered correct to your teacher! Problem solved.

    I was interested to see the discussion of the use of ‘a’ or ‘an’ before words that start with an ‘h’. That can be quite a challenge. A former boss got upset with me for using ‘a house’ in something I wrote, rather than ‘an house’.

    Here is another usage that drives me nuts. Using “sale” and “sell” incorrectly. A sign on store window said “We Sale Newspapers”. To me it should be “Newspapers For Sale” or “We Sell Newspapers.”

    Also when should you us the double or single quote mark?

    Reply
    • jenny morte bocado -  June 30, 2015 - 2:00 am

      a and e

      Reply
    • Van -  June 30, 2015 - 3:24 am

      Consider using ‘an’ before words starting with unvoiced ‘h’.

      Reply
      • Noel -  June 30, 2015 - 11:13 am

        I learned “a” with a consonant (except when silent), “an” with a vowel. As in, A goat. A horse. An hour,, but An elephant. An error. An exception.

        Reply
        • M.A.Jeffs -  July 3, 2015 - 8:22 pm

          Of course it is ‘a’ before consonants and ‘an’ before vowels! This is primary school stuff.

          Reply
          • interested in English -  September 4, 2015 - 12:11 am

            I agree.
            Who knows where these people went to school!

    • Nancy Few -  June 30, 2015 - 9:01 am

      I would like to subscribe to your word fact

      Reply
    • Cynthia Keaton -  July 1, 2015 - 7:20 am

      There is no such thing as a “single quote” mark. There are quote marks and apostrophes!

      Reply
    • Frank Casale -  July 5, 2015 - 5:29 pm

      Hi, Mz Katie. I was taught in school to use ‘single’ quotation marks when you are using some one else’s quotation.
      Conversely, you use “double” quotation marks when you want to place emphasis in your writings.

      Reply
    • Frank Casale -  August 5, 2015 - 10:43 am

      MzKatie, as far as the terms ‘Newspapers for Sale’ and ‘We sell Newspapers’ are concerned- both are correct!
      However, when I drive up to a store,and see a sign like that in the window, I say to myself “I should damn well hope so!”

      Reply
    • Janna -  October 17, 2015 - 1:43 pm

      “An house” isn’t even grammatically correct

      Reply
      • John -  January 29, 2016 - 10:10 am

        Read the Bible……Yea the sparrow shall find her an house

        Reply
      • Starr -  October 23, 2016 - 10:18 am

        That is a voiced h, house, she said non voiced h like in hour.

        Reply
  27. Alan Perrie G. De Jesus III -  June 29, 2015 - 5:19 am

    their only difference is the spelling, ya know??????
    Common sense, guys. Common sense

    Reply
    • M.A.Jeffs -  July 3, 2015 - 8:27 pm

      Why is this matter still being discussed! There is no difference in meaning between ‘grey’ and ‘grey’. They are just different adaptions from the origin word ‘grǣg’ which contains both ‘a’ and ‘e’.
      Americans most likely chose to use ‘a’ since the English were already using ‘e’. Australians follow the English, using ‘grey’.

      Reply
  28. michael garrett -  June 29, 2015 - 12:14 am

    you got me

    Reply
  29. Emma -  June 28, 2015 - 1:44 pm

    I use grey and gray. Grey for a whiter colour, gray for a blacker colour.
    grEy = whitE. grAy = blAck.

    Reply
    • Cody Coman -  June 29, 2015 - 11:15 am

      I agree with you. Grey should be closer to white, and gray should be closer to black.

      Reply
    • K.C. -  June 30, 2015 - 12:33 pm

      I’ve never seen this idea before, but I like it. Very good!

      Reply
    • Kaciekk -  June 30, 2015 - 1:39 pm

      That’s what I was thinking. Oh and that’s a good mnemonic for it, that will surely help me!

      Reply
      • Roy Jensen -  July 5, 2015 - 9:06 am

        While interesting, it is by no means universally accepted. And likely won’t be. Get over it.

        Reply
    • tadhgvonnorth -  July 23, 2015 - 10:33 pm

      very interesting way of looking at it >> i am a graphic designer, and – come to think of it – I seriously have no idea which way I have been spelling it in my projects and design submissions !!

      Reply
    • maria -  November 25, 2015 - 6:33 am

      Yes, GrAy feels darker

      Reply
  30. Anjee -  June 28, 2015 - 11:43 am

    I usually use “gray” but I think that “grey” looks cooler. I don’t know. That’s just me. But it depends on what kind of “grey/gray” I use depending on how I’m feeling about, what way of spelling it would make it look better, or make it have more sense? I don’t know. Just my thoughts.

    Reply
  31. David Lloyd -  June 28, 2015 - 10:57 am

    I have always thought “grey” is a metaphorical color reference, while “gray” is a literal color reference, e.g.: Older people are sometimes called grey, because their hair has turned gray.

    Reply
    • Wes -  June 29, 2015 - 5:46 pm

      Yes. Simply, yes.

      Reply
  32. Sam Fisher -  June 27, 2015 - 2:43 pm

    Here in Australia we will contiue to spell it GRAI.

    Reply
    • Sam Fisher -  June 27, 2015 - 2:43 pm

      *continue

      Reply
      • Bruh -  July 8, 2015 - 12:07 pm

        bruh

        Reply
  33. p38l5 -  June 26, 2015 - 10:45 pm

    Lord Greystoke. TARZAN! That is the name!

    Reply
  34. Louis -  June 26, 2015 - 9:02 am

    All blather ! Much ado about nothing. Both acceptable, enough said.

    Reply
    • Michael -  June 26, 2015 - 4:07 pm

      Hi Louis!
      I don’t know, maybe it has profound meaning that expresses the moral decay of society?

      To me the grey/gray phenomenon encapsulates the acceptance of two different viewpoints as having the same meaning.

      What better way to reveal the lie of pluralism than to have the color between two diametrically opposed colors like white and black be accepted with two spellings?
      In fact, this world has gotten so mixed up most even think black is white and white is black!

      So one person’s “grey” is another person’s “gray” amonst 50 shades of Grey…
      And once again English proves to be a perfect scientific expression of the Occult.
      :-/

      Reply
      • Michael -  June 26, 2015 - 4:13 pm

        More succinctly put; When you accept anything but black or white as the standard of morality, you end up with two definitions of what is correct…

        Reply
        • Leah Smith -  June 29, 2015 - 9:31 pm

          The best comment yet!

          Reply
    • Bilboe -  June 27, 2015 - 2:02 am

      Agreed. But the gravy on my beef had better be brown.

      Reply
    • Johnny boy -  June 29, 2015 - 8:31 am

      Both seem Greyt to me!

      Reply
  35. ellie -  June 26, 2015 - 6:48 am

    in teresting

    Reply
    • jocelynne -  June 26, 2015 - 11:31 am

      interesting*

      Reply
      • Mark -  June 28, 2015 - 8:21 am

        Jocelynne, you better be sardonic, and not as dense as you’re coming across.

        Reply
  36. Patrick -  June 26, 2015 - 5:46 am

    All of these comments are so much better than comments that you’d see on Facebook. I’m actually enjoying this.

    Reply
  37. Craig Frane -  June 26, 2015 - 4:45 am

    Grey makes more sense. Ay (also spelt aye) is pronounced “ahy” as Dictionary.com writes it. Grey, however is pronounced “grey”. It’s literally spelt out phonetically. We more words like this in English, so to Hell with gray! :p

    Reply
    • Russell -  June 27, 2015 - 5:40 pm

      What about eh??? Spelled slightly different but pronounced the same!!!

      Reply
      • Mr. Canuk -  July 9, 2015 - 11:29 pm

        The usage of the word “eh” depends to a great extent on where the speaker is from.

        In Canada “eh” is correctly pronounced as a hard ‘A’ sound or “ay” as in “say”.

        Grammatically speaking, the word “eh” can either be used as a single word sentence or appear at the end of a sentence. It does not occur at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.

        When used alone as a single world sentence, both the duration of the ‘eh’ and direction of tone, rising or falling, conveys very different meanings.

        As a single word sentence:
        Short falling tone is used as a greeting among or acknowledgement. You are usually smiling when used as such.
        “Eh.”

        Short clipped falling tone indicates you wish someone’s attention. Speaker not normally smiling when this form is used
        “Eh!”

        A long falling tone is used as an expression of joy or happiness. This is not to be confused with a greeting which is much shorter.
        “Eeeeeh!”

        In a multi-word sentence:
        Short rising tone at the end of a question is used to indicate that the speaker politely expects a response from the listener, and that the question is not rhetorical.
        “Hows’ it going eh?”
        “Can I get a double-double eh?”
        “Where do you keep the two-fours eh?”

        Short rising tone at the end of a statement indicates that the speaker expects confirmation from the listener that they also share the same view as expressed by the speaker.
        “This is a mighty fine poutine eh!”
        “There is nothing like eating some Beaver Tail on a cold winter’s night eh!”

        People from Canada are known for being nice, polite, and apologizing way to much. One way that is done is by the use of the word ‘eh’.

        Sorry if this comment is too long eh!

        Reply
        • interested in English -  September 4, 2015 - 12:16 am

          SERIOUSLY!
          write an epistle why not!

          Reply
    • Rory -  June 28, 2015 - 1:47 pm

      I’m not sure what you’re actually talking about. Sound out the letter A. Now sound out gray. Sound out the letter E. Now sound out grey. It’s very obvious which one is the phonetic choice.

      Unless you feel that day, way, pay, may, ray, say, lay, bay, etc. also don’t make any sense. Yet there also exists hey and fey but also key. Isn’t English fun?

      Reply
      • Pestilence -  June 30, 2015 - 2:56 pm

        pea – mind blown

        Reply
  38. Lilium G. -  June 25, 2015 - 6:20 pm

    Wow! I’m an author, and I’ve always used the spelling ‘gray.’ I suppose I could use ‘grey.’ It’s strange, because I spelled gray ‘grey’ once on a test, and I got a half point off! I’ll stick to gray, I think.

    Reply
    • Chris S -  June 27, 2015 - 11:55 am

      I’ve been to many English-speaking countries around the world, and the USA is the only one where I’ve heard/seen “gray” used. Likewise “tire” for a rubber wheel, “center”, “armor”and a whole slew of others. Canada has adopted some of these Americanisms, by proximity I suppose. I guess it’s where you expect your books to be read, although you might be limiting your readership by writing only for US readers…

      Reply
      • Lilium G. -  July 7, 2015 - 12:17 pm

        I agree. It really depends on we’re you are writing and who you think will be reading your books. You cannot say that one is right and one is wrong. Either spelling is correct, and therefore no one should be alienated by one spelling

        Reply
  39. dontpanic42 -  June 25, 2015 - 5:35 pm

    Gray is a hue.

    Grey is a name.

    Reply
    • Frsp -  June 27, 2015 - 10:15 am

      My accountant’s name is Gray.

      Reply
    • Leap -  June 27, 2015 - 11:56 pm

      I had a classmate with the last name Gray, actually.

      Reply
    • Billy Rubin -  June 28, 2015 - 11:34 am

      Except Dorian Gray?

      Reply
    • Jed -  June 29, 2015 - 12:21 am

      I went to school with some brothers whose last name was Gray, so for me it’s the other way around.

      Reply
    • Michael W -  June 29, 2015 - 4:18 am

      Both are names and hues.

      Reply
    • Jake -  June 29, 2015 - 8:40 pm

      John Edward Gray is also a name.

      Reply
    • Chaz DeSimone -  July 8, 2015 - 5:42 pm

      That sure makes it simple, but not quite accurate:

      Neither grey nor gray is a hue. It’s a shade or tint. A hue is a point in the spectrum that contains some red, yellow, blue, green, fuscia, whatever…but it is not neutral. When white is added to a hue it becomes a tint; adding black becomes a shade. But when you add both white and black, or gray (grey) to a hue it becomes a tone. Teal is a toned blue or green hue. The sum of all the aspects — hue, chroma, darkness, lightness, grayness (greyness) — is the resulting color.

      Besides, I’ve seen both Gray and Grey as surnames–even first names.

      Reply
  40. Mark -  June 25, 2015 - 12:36 pm

    I use the spelling GREY for the color normally. The main reason I do this is because I was sent to England with military and I lived with the English and I picked up on their language and have never cared to change back to the American version. I am from South Alabama and I have people here even after 20 + years of being back from England that tell me I don’t sound Southern. I don’t mind though as at least I don’t sound like I rolled off a turnip truck. LOL Of course my education may play a part in it also. My mom says I have picked up bits and pieces of the language from the different places I have been. Anyway there’s my 2 cents!

    Reply
    • Andrew -  June 26, 2015 - 4:46 am

      You mean your “two pence.” Lol

      Reply
      • Bethany -  June 28, 2015 - 10:02 pm

        I prefer “two penneth-worth”, mate.

        Reply
    • Susan Lewis -  June 26, 2015 - 7:07 am

      No matter where you have been in the world the reactions would be the dame.

      The grAy = ARRRRHHHH for colour

      and the grEy for the shriek as another one is found on through the hair.

      Enjoy the difference

      Susan

      Reply
      • AutoCorrect -  June 27, 2015 - 8:56 am

        “The dame?” It’s “the same.”

        Reply
      • Jake -  June 29, 2015 - 8:52 pm

        I’m not from English speaking country but I learned that grey is the color one. Dictionaries, encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, lectures mostly use grey when mentioning the color. Rarely heard gray except when mentioning someone’s name, hence I grow define gray as variation for name.

        Reply
  41. rachel orr -  June 25, 2015 - 10:48 am

    all this talk about gray or grey color is really stretching my gray matter, I think I will have a cup of Earl Grey tea, while I ponder these two words.
    right now it seems to be a gray matter to me.

    Reply
    • bill olson -  June 25, 2015 - 11:42 am

      I just like the spelling “grey” better. I have no logical reason.

      Reply
    • Mark -  June 25, 2015 - 12:37 pm

      That sounds good! I meet women and most don’t like Earl Grey Tea so you are special!

      Reply
  42. Lebron James -  June 25, 2015 - 2:37 am

    Grey is the colour and the other Gray is used as a last name

    Reply
    • Jeriah -  June 25, 2015 - 1:05 pm

      Huh. I’ve always seen it the exact other way around.

      Reply
      • dontpanic42 -  June 25, 2015 - 5:35 pm

        Me too.

        Reply
      • Sabyasachi Chaudhuri -  June 26, 2015 - 3:46 am

        Huh! Gray for the colour (color) is not acceptable. ;-)

        Reply
        • Santiago -  June 28, 2015 - 5:49 am

          Sorry…In Spanish we use correctly the word “color” for your word colour in English.

          Reply
        • Michael W -  June 29, 2015 - 4:20 am

          It’s not acceptable to you, clearly. It’s acceptable to many others.

          Reply
      • Georgia -  June 27, 2015 - 12:36 pm

        I have always spelled gray for color and color of my hair. Now that I’m older, I refer to my gray hair as silver. I like that it explained the spelling with an “a” for America and “e” for English. I always thought Grey was for a name like the tea.

        Reply
    • John -  July 6, 2015 - 4:56 pm

      I find it odd that people are so dogmatic about this. These folks seem oblivious to the fact that there are different versions of the English language in use in the world, and that the language is almost continuously changing.

      Reply
  43. JL Jenkins -  June 24, 2015 - 7:15 pm

    I grew up in Central Kansas and learned to spell.it grey.

    Reply
  44. Cynth -  June 24, 2015 - 2:16 pm

    I read a lot of British literature when I was little and used the grey spelling. When I got a larger box of crayons I saw the gray spelling and was perplexed. I had to look it up to understand the difference. It was funny to me.

    Reply
    • Sallie Allison -  June 28, 2015 - 3:54 am

      Have you looked at a box of crayons recently..I mean the big box with the sharpener that we all envied as kids??
      Well, now gray is “grey squirrel” or “timberwolf” or “putty”
      Seriously, do we need so many options?

      Reply
  45. Josh M -  June 24, 2015 - 9:31 am

    “GREY” is not limited to GB. It is also the common spelling in Canada. How that fits in to the mnemonic, I’m not sure… Maybe, Canada is the BEST, and “best” has an “e”, so therefore use “grey”.

    Reply
    • DD -  June 24, 2015 - 6:05 pm

      How about; there are an odd number of A’s in Canada, A is odd, E is not?

      BTW, the Grey in 50 Shades is the name of the main character and the author is British,

      Reply
    • Old Hippie Dude -  June 24, 2015 - 6:46 pm

      So, is that really “Grey Goose,” or should it be ‘Gray Goose?’

      Reply
      • Gregory Heffley -  June 26, 2015 - 4:07 am

        You still don’t understand???!!!! It all doesn’t matter… Use Gray or use Grey It’s all the same!!! Well I prefer Gray… Don’t know why… Maybe i just like ‘a’ instead of ‘e’…Or maybe that makes me unique here… (everybody uses grey in India, you see) and i like to be unique…

        Reply
        • Gregory Heffley -  June 26, 2015 - 4:12 am

          Similar is the case for the spelling of “color”… I mean… how do you guys spell it… In India ‘colour’ is accepted but we get red wavy lines under the word when we type it in that way!!! It’s all so confusing!!!

          Reply
    • Martin -  June 24, 2015 - 7:28 pm

      Actually, the US is the only country that spells the word gray. It is now a grey area, but in the second half of the 20th century, grey was considered an incorrect spelling in the US. It was listed as a British spelling in the dictionary.

      Reply
      • Rory -  June 28, 2015 - 1:58 pm

        I didn’t realise it was that recent of a split. I did realize, however, that there would be a word annoyingly underlined in red in my previous sentence.

        Reply
    • H.N. -  June 24, 2015 - 10:26 pm

      Haha! Proud Canadian! :)

      Reply
    • Julia H -  June 25, 2015 - 3:21 am

      No mnemonics needed since Canada is part of the whole UK picture anyway

      Reply
    • Jagan Nathan -  June 25, 2015 - 6:12 am

      I ilike to use GREY and I do not like GRAY as to bray like a donkey!

      Reply
    • K -  June 25, 2015 - 7:39 am

      The best WHAT!? More on the actual topic, college classmate of mine spent most of his life in major frustration. His name was GRAY; but people insisted on spelling it with an E, as though he didn’t know how to spell his own name.

      Reply
    • Rebecca -  June 26, 2015 - 8:04 am

      It’s grEy in England, grAy in America, and grEHy in Canada. ;)

      That out of the way…
      I prefer grey (I live in America) because it just looks better to me. But I also use “colour” and “labour” and all those other words with extra letters in the British spellings, so… I must just be British at heart!

      Reply
  46. Greg -  June 24, 2015 - 6:05 am

    When I was in second grade around 1982 in Madison CT, USA, I failed to make it to the next round of a spelling bee because I spelled it “grey” instead of “gray”. I insisted that the teachers look it up in the dictionary, but they refused. I learned how to spell it grey because my mother does cross-stitching and that’s how it was spelled on the thread wrappers.

    This incident led to a life full of distrust for authority and regular skepticism, which is how I now fully enjoy living. So needless to say, my favorite color is grey.

    Reply
    • saintjames -  June 24, 2015 - 6:31 pm

      I love your comment.

      Reply
    • saintjames -  June 24, 2015 - 6:32 pm

      Just thought you should be commended for sharing that story.

      Reply
    • Old Hippie Dude -  June 24, 2015 - 6:52 pm

      Both are okay? I had always thought my old mare was unequivocally “gray.”

      Reply
    • Chris -  June 24, 2015 - 10:01 pm

      I understand your feeling. I’m a teacher of English as a foreign language and accept both American and British spelling. Sometimes teachers should be more humble… It’s not surprising your favorite color is grey!

      Reply
    • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:17 am

      think grey is a color so ya and gray is not a color so ya as well.grey has a e and gray has a a.

      Reply
      • Nancy Few -  June 30, 2015 - 9:25 am

        What is “ya”? Is it pronounced “yea” as in hooray? Or is it pronounced “yah” as in bah, humbug, or the Scandanavian word “ja” or “yeah” as in slang for yes?

        Reply
        • Cynthia Keaton -  July 1, 2015 - 7:32 am

          The a in ‘ya’ is pronounced like the ‘u’ in hug It’s slang for ‘you’.
          I don’t know why Sword mite says, “so ya”. I’m not sure what he/she means.

          Reply
    • Rob -  June 25, 2015 - 2:23 am

      Loved reading that comment; nicely written. Made me chuckle.

      Reply
    • Julia H -  June 25, 2015 - 3:25 am

      I think I remember now that those embroidery packages were always so decorative of gold and decorative filigree which once caused me to look more closely and I saw that they were all from the UK. I think this shows us how our “official” relationship with England changes now and again – remember, that’s the country we broke away from to be the US

      Reply
    • Aspasia -  June 25, 2015 - 8:23 am

      LOL I love your comment.

      Reply
  47. Joe Wescott -  June 24, 2015 - 5:05 am

    I can’t believe all the off color remarks in these comments…

    Reply
    • Rick G -  June 24, 2015 - 1:14 pm

      It really paints a colourless picture…

      Reply
      • not funny -  June 25, 2015 - 1:15 am

        not funny

        Reply
        • me -  July 1, 2015 - 12:06 pm

          yes it is

          Reply
      • Sallie Allison -  June 28, 2015 - 4:01 am

        Or a picture of many hues..
        Let’s not get started on the many spellings of hues..
        Hughes, Hewes, here

        Reply
    • Ruth -  June 24, 2015 - 4:07 pm

      Very droll. LOL

      Reply
  48. Calvin Gray -  June 23, 2015 - 11:11 am

    Gray as color and surname.
    Interesting article.

    Reply
    • Stephen -  June 24, 2015 - 8:02 am

      I love mnemonics. The only problem is remembering them. Okay, I think I’ve got it.
      E as in United Kingdom, and A as in United States.

      Reply
      • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:17 am

        nop not right

        Reply
      • Gaurav -  June 26, 2015 - 1:56 am

        Also, U as in United Kingdom and no U as in United States (colour, behavior etc.)

        Reply
      • Sallie Allison -  June 28, 2015 - 4:02 am

        E is England
        A is America

        Reply
        • Jake -  June 29, 2015 - 9:55 pm

          So greyhound is “grAyhound” in America?

          Reply
          • me -  July 1, 2015 - 12:08 pm

            Greyhound is a breed of dog, not a compound word. You could say gray hound or grey hound, but not grayhound.

          • Mr. Canuk -  July 10, 2015 - 12:13 am

            Must be, since hound is a dog and grAy is a colour.
            Therefor Americans must have grAyhounds.
            They also seem to drop the ‘-’ on compound words :)

  49. karl greene -  June 23, 2015 - 4:04 am

    Often, the debates on this website are silly and irrelevant.

    But, I love reading this stuff. Quite entertaining for a person

    interested in language.

    Reply
    • Ted Harlson -  June 23, 2015 - 11:13 pm

      Clarity of concepts are clarity of thinking, and also entertaining.

      Reply
    • Karen -  June 25, 2015 - 3:58 pm

      Green or Greene … sorry, I couldn’t resist.

      Reply
      • Sallie Allison -  June 28, 2015 - 4:04 am

        Karl with K, but why did your mom not choose C

        Reply
        • Cathy -  July 6, 2015 - 4:35 pm

          Thank goodness Australians spell in English and not in Yankee!

          Reply
    • Jere Lull -  June 25, 2015 - 10:50 pm

      Debates about English words and spelling are often silly and irrelevant, since English is so malleable & is constantly evolving. Need a specific concept expressed and no right word is in the nearby Webster’s(r)? “Borrow” one from another language or make one up that looks and sounds right. If challenged, you can call it “poetic license”.

      Reply
  50. hannah.m -  June 23, 2015 - 12:16 am

    just ask the syllabus they’ll probs know the answer to that question though i do think it is actually grey not gray unless it is a name or street name

    Reply
  51. Valerie R. -  June 22, 2015 - 6:49 am

    Never thought about it. Always wrote it as grey.

    Reply
    • Marcia S. -  June 22, 2015 - 3:00 pm

      I believe I was taught, ‘grey’ as colour, and ‘gray’ as surname. As an adult I chose to stick with ‘grey’ for colour as well as name. I suppose the uncertainty about which is which, will live on!

      Reply
      • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:18 am

        i agree with you marcia

        Reply
    • Emma -  June 22, 2015 - 4:20 pm

      GrEy as in Europe
      GrAy as in America
      I’ve always never known which way to write it. I feel as if GrEy is a name and GrAy as the color.

      Reply
      • Gary (or Gery) -  June 23, 2015 - 6:21 am

        I would have thought the Brits would spell it GROY as they pronounce it.
        Some say potatoe some say potawto, some say tomatoe some say tomawto. Vivre la difference.

        Reply
        • SA Barnes -  June 24, 2015 - 1:04 pm

          I can’t help myself but to correct your spelling. Forgive me if it was your intention at humour. Potato and tomato drop the e in singular form. The e is only added to make them plural. Potatoes, tomatoes. Hope this helps. Now, like me, you can “harrumph” when you pass by a grocery store making the same mistakes upon their signage. All the best.

          Reply
        • what -  June 28, 2015 - 5:49 am

          It’s not pronounced GROY in any part of the UK.

          Reply
        • Billy Rubin -  June 28, 2015 - 11:38 am

          You’ve been watching Mary Poppins again.

          Reply
      • Aadil -  June 23, 2015 - 6:47 am

        you are right about the fact

        Reply
        • Rizenn -  June 23, 2015 - 1:10 pm

          I’m going to go with Crayola’s “Gray.”

          Reply
          • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:18 am

            bad

          • Sallie Allison -  June 28, 2015 - 4:12 am

            Yes but even Crayola has “grey squirrel”, “timberwolf”, “putty”
            Recycle your dictionary, donate it to an auction site, use it to start your next bon fire…
            rely on “spell check”

      • Marcia -  June 24, 2015 - 6:49 am

        Exactly Emma. You stole my thunder. I was going to say England not Europe though.

        Reply
      • K -  June 25, 2015 - 7:40 am

        See my reply to Josh M. above.

        Reply
  52. T. Midgley -  June 22, 2015 - 5:15 am

    English as spoken by the modern English people uses the spelling grey. During earlier times i.e. up to the 1700′s gray was often used particularly in the surname.

    Emigrants from England to the American colonies during the 1500- 1600′s took the spelling Gray with them and have retained it through its popularisation in Webster’s dictionary. Webster tried to differentiate English as spoken in the American colonies from that spoken by the English. This it has been argued, was a form of literary rebellion against mother England.
    Further reading: The Adventures of English. Melvyn Bragg. 2003

    Reply
    • Sunday Oliver -  June 22, 2015 - 3:39 pm

      Thanks for this! I love knowing these stories – and thanks for the book recommendation, too.

      Reply
    • Steve -  June 25, 2015 - 7:58 am

      Sorry but you are wrong – the word is always spelled ‘grey’ by English people ( wherever they live). I was taught ‘grey’ when I was at school. All of my (many) children have been taught the same spelling….

      Most spellcheckers (including Microsoft’s) will accept either without complaining but rest assured that for English people it is ‘grey’.

      Reply
  53. Dolphy KYZ -  June 22, 2015 - 4:25 am

    They are the same thing – so why bother about this? Unless it’s something to do with British English and American English again?

    Reply
    • Tin -  June 22, 2015 - 3:56 pm

      Well, if you are, for instance, a translator of legal documents, and one client expects you to translate into US English and another into UK English, then it is an important issue.

      Reply
  54. vinicius -  June 21, 2015 - 3:41 pm

    My issue is not between the diference of gray and grey … There is a huge diference between America and United States of America . America is a continent and USA is a state .

    Reply
    • you -  June 22, 2015 - 1:45 pm

      *North America and *South America are continent. And the USA is not a state. It’s a country. Read a book and never leave a comment again.

      Reply
      • Troy -  June 22, 2015 - 2:43 pm

        Uh, actually the USA is a “state” by the traditional definition: Of or relating to a body politic or to an internally autonomous territorial or political unit constituting a federation under one government.

        It seems uniquely American to define as a “state” something everyone else would call a “territory” or a “province”.

        The insight this yields is compelling. Either: 1) Americans redefine the language as they please or 2) the original United “States” were, in fact, autonomous political units before they yielded their sovereignty to the ever-expanding federal government.

        At any rate, people who snidely tell others to “read a book and never post again” who are themselves badly uninformed embarrass themselves.

        Reply
        • MrRhyl -  June 23, 2015 - 1:47 am

          Shouldn’t that be “badly informed”?
          Being English I always thought that the USA was in a right state!

          Reply
        • DW -  June 23, 2015 - 5:21 am

          Troy, I completely agree with your assesment of our American arrogance. Thanks for putting “you” in his/her place.

          Reply
        • Alison -  June 23, 2015 - 8:57 am

          North and South America are continents, but the United States of America is a country. We are the only country with the word America in its name, and we call ourselves Americans because we can’t call ourselves Statesians.

          Reply
          • DD -  June 24, 2015 - 6:10 pm

            Or even United?

        • Eric -  June 23, 2015 - 12:15 pm

          First, it is not uniquely American to call the major subdivisions “states”. I see in Wikipedia that the following countries all use the term (or its translation in their languages):
          Australia, Austria, Brazil, Germany, India, Malasia, Mexico, F.S. of Micronesia, Nigeria, St.Kitts & Nevis, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the U.S.A. and Venezuela.
          A quick estimate tells me that’s more than 2 billion people that live in such states.
          Each individual state is in fact a state, in the sense you mean. The states cannot be “territories” or “provinces” because they are not property of the federal government. The sovereignty of the federal government is borrowed from the states; they give up some of their rights to the federal government by choice, to give it sufficient power to do the things it needs to do. Those sovereign rights not specifically ceded in our constitution to the federal government remain the sovereign rights of the states and their citizens. Thus the ownership goes the other way around. The federal government is the property of the sovereign states.

          The established term for the component entities in this style of governance is “Federated State”.

          Hence you will often run into the phrase “THESE United States” instead of “THE United States”. And please note, the word “State” is plural in our name. United States, not United State.

          As for whether we should be Americans or not, blame the British. They were the ones that first started calling us Americans. We were calling ourselves British at the time. Treating us like foreigners is what lead to a minor scuff-up called the American War of Independence.

          Reply
          • Rueben -  June 24, 2015 - 2:59 pm

            Thank you, Eric!

          • Jane Sickon -  June 25, 2015 - 3:50 pm

            Bravo!

          • Frank Casale -  July 5, 2015 - 5:48 pm

            See: K- June 25, 2015- 7:47a
            And, Yes! There will be a test on Friday!

        • K -  June 25, 2015 - 7:47 am

          ‘Twould appear your grasp of US history is lacking. During the colonial period, each of the 13 colonies was construed as an independent political entity — a state, in common diplomatic parlance — despite being under the thumb of a common overlord, Great Britain. When the colonies revolted and determined to wrest their independence from London, the 13 states united to form a common resistance to British tyranny. The term “state,” which was eminently applicable to the individual colonies at the time of the revolution, carried over into the terminology used during the drafting of the Constitution under which the former colonies united after independence had been won from GB. It is not arrogance. Now, as to yielding their sovereignty to an ever-expanding federal government, well, you’re not the first to notice.

          Reply
        • Andrew -  July 5, 2015 - 1:36 am

          Actually, The United States of America are many states, by the traditional definition. It is why “The United States” should be treated as a plural, though no one seems to recall to do so. (That is “The United States are in North America”, not “is in North America”.) Somehow we seem to forget what the name means and treat it as a singular object.

          Just for the record, from the United States and yet have always used “grey”, despite the complaints of some spell check programs. Then again, I refuse to believe “indexes” exist, even if my spell check program (and several databases) insist “indices” don’t really exist. (Then again most spell check programs believe there is a single correct spelling for Mohammed/Mohammad/Muhammad/etc, so how much trust should we place in them?)

          Reply
    • LoneGemini -  June 22, 2015 - 1:58 pm

      TWO continents! (North & South AMERICA!) — USA is FIFTY states… or you can just call it a “country!” — Just sayin’ :)

      Reply
    • Food -  June 22, 2015 - 2:59 pm

      USA is a country that consists of many state

      Reply
    • Sunday Oliver -  June 22, 2015 - 3:41 pm

      I am also interested in people making more distinction betweeen “US” and “America”. I know in other countries people often make no distinction, but as a US citizen I feel distinctly uneasy at the notion of my country co-opting 3 continents; it feels like a kind of linguistic imperialism.

      Reply
      • Jane Songer -  June 23, 2015 - 10:47 pm

        Sunday Oliver: I believe that we are seeing, here in America, that the “States” are becoming less and less “United.” Perhaps we can become more united after Obama leaves office, but it’s going to take a lot of cooperation, prayers, agape love and acceptance, I think.

        Reply
        • Beth Stuchel -  June 28, 2015 - 5:41 am

          What do prayers have to do with anything?

          Reply
    • Max Weber -  June 25, 2015 - 8:45 am

      Actually, “America” is a people. If you were American then you would know that. When an American says “America” he or she is referring to the people and the ideals. The beliefs. The rights of man and woman. To say “Americans prefer …” would be correct. The United States is a political structure in which many Americans live; but, an American can recognize another American no matter where we are in the world. Americans believe fundamentally the same things including that all people are created as equals, that no person has a right to harm or enslave another, and that every person has both rights and responsibilities to make their own choices and to enjoy or deal with the consequences. Americans fully accept “gray” and “grey” as the choice expresses the speakers individuality. Expressly, the United States of America government structure does NOT support individual rights nor responsibilities and so “US” or “USA” simply is not the correct term for Americans.
      BTW, YES! many Mexicans and many Canadians — and more — are Americans!

      Reply
  55. sam -  June 21, 2015 - 11:33 am

    It’s just gray and grey… :) use the one you like.

    Reply
  56. Potatoes r gud -  June 21, 2015 - 4:19 am

    i liek potatoes, potatoes r gud

    Reply
  57. MzAli C. -  June 20, 2015 - 9:27 pm

    As the above article stated the only difference is in the spelling of the words. The Americans (& those American-influenced) spell it with an “a” and the British (& those British-influenced) spell it with an “e”. However, BOTH words refer to the same thing. It is the same with the words “center”/”centre” and “theater”/”theatre.” The “ter” ending of the two words is American, and the “tre” ending is British. As another poster pointed out, this spelling difference also occurs with the words “color/colour” and “favorite/favourite.” The meanings are the same no matter how one spells them. Therefore, the way in which you write these words depends upon the place you were taught.

    Reply
    • Max Weber -  June 25, 2015 - 8:48 am

      And if your gmail or windows computer get set to that sideways language called “British English” or “UK English” then you are in a big mess. Your email editor tells you behavior is spelled wrong and you cannot even login into Windows as the special keys on the shift of numbers are different! UK is becoming so non-English! They need to interact more with Americans and start to be more English! :-)

      Reply
      • John -  January 29, 2016 - 10:18 am

        Ignorant colonial savage

        Reply
  58. Diran -  June 20, 2015 - 10:31 am

    I use Gray, because when grey is used as a color in web pages in HTML, some browsers look at that as green (gra vs. gre I guess). so to make sure it uses grey, I use gray!

    Reply
    • Max Weber -  June 25, 2015 - 8:49 am

      good post! gray and grey

      Reply
  59. Susan -  June 20, 2015 - 9:24 am

    What a blast, reading here. I have seen what it is to see what the world thinks. It is rather neat. I have seen and heard a conversation from around the world. Anyway, I wanted to comment that I have the idea that ‘gray’ is more sad than ‘grey’. A gray day is not one to be liked. And a color, or colour, is grey–not an unpleasant one necessarily.

    Reply
    • Roketto -  June 22, 2015 - 3:21 pm

      Weirdly enough, I’m the opposite. Gray connotes a stronger, darker color in my mind, whereas grey invokes softness & gloominess. If I were describing a roiling, stormy sea, I’d use gray, but for a solemn, funerary sky overlooking a graveyard, grey.

      Reply
      • Alison -  June 22, 2015 - 10:50 pm

        I like both of your interpretations…I spell it both ways depending on how the mood hits me, probably as you’ve described. More often grey, though I’m American…I think of grey as a color I like and gray as colorless, like gray hair or a gloomy day. And we do have people with the surname of Grey, as in Grey’s Anatomy.

        Reply
        • Alison -  June 23, 2015 - 9:13 am

          I also think of gray as less dark and with more blue in it, though, which seems contradictory…it’s lovely to have a word with two correct spellings that can evoke so many different images for everyone.

          Reply
          • Andrew -  July 5, 2015 - 1:52 am

            This is the first time I have ever heard of anyone thinking the two words have any different connotations. I always assumed they were just alternate spellings. To think they meant something different would be like saying “Aimee” is more happy than “Amy” or “John” is stronger than “Jon”, which strikes me as nothing more than imposing some personal preconceptions onto words which are, to everyone else, identical.

            However, from the article, apparently I am in the minority on this one, and other people really do try to find some significance in the choice of spelling. How odd! (I always used “grey” for reasons I cannot recall. I am from the US, so I don’t fit the supposed pattern, and thus should favor “gray”, but for some reason just cannot stop spelling it with an “e”, even as many spell check programs tell me I am wrong. Then again, many spell check programs insist real words — eg.”ad libitum”, “Objectivist”,”advisor”,”Moslem” (as opposed to “Muslim”), “Mohammed” (as opposed to “Mohammad”), “axe”, “indices”, “avant garde” — do not exist, so I have little faith in the authors of spell check.)

  60. Anonymous -  June 20, 2015 - 5:54 am

    I prefer grey rather that gray, but its up to the one teaching you and also up to you what to use.

    Reply
    • Anonymous -  June 20, 2015 - 5:55 am

      I meant to say “than”.

      Reply
  61. Ola Nordmann -  June 20, 2015 - 2:58 am

    I usually write “grey”, but that might be due to the fact that english is not my first language and therefore the way “grey” is pronounced in my language (and most other non-english ones) is that E is pronounced “EH” instead, and A is pronounced “AH” instead. While in English it differs :)

    Americans\english says EYH when pronouncing A and “IH” when saying E. While in most other languages A is pronounced AH (like when you open your mouth at the doctor and is told to say AH and E is like saying “EH” in english.

    This is the reason why people who natively speak english often struggles with some words beginning or ending with A or E on how they are supposed to be announced. Remember how Frodo pronounced “Gandalf” in the Lord of The Rings? He said “G-EH-N-D-EH-LF” while Saruman said it the European (non-english or at least old english way) G-AH-N-D-AH-LF”

    Sorry, that I’m rambling.. always gets this way when I write things in a hurry in english and don’t have time to edit it down and try to explain it with fewer words, so please excuse me :)

    Reply
    • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:19 am

      um……i think so……….

      Reply
  62. brian hernandez -  June 19, 2015 - 8:13 am

    50shades of grey or gray ?

    Reply
    • erika.windchimes -  June 19, 2015 - 7:14 pm

      I thought I had this gray vs grey matter squared away by having now decided to use A when writing about an American subject and E when writing about an English topic.
      But I’m an American and I’d whine if I had to put a U in “flavor” and “color” or an S in place of Z in “recognize” and “organize.” As an American Registered Nurse I refuse to put an O in “anemia” and an A in ‘leukemia.”
      But I shall not tamper with the spelling of someone’s name.
      Language is FUN!
      Greyhound, of American bus line fame, is named after the greyhound dog breed of English origin ;)

      Reply
      • Sallie Allison -  June 28, 2015 - 4:22 am

        Common Erika…colour outside the lines, use an extra letter once in a while..it starts all kinds of conversations…see?

        Reply
    • john paul stewart -  June 20, 2015 - 11:20 am

      Is there a gay and a gey then? Or is it gay and guy?

      Reply
    • melaine -  June 21, 2015 - 4:19 am

      As a child, I was taught that gray refers to the horse, while grey refers to the color.

      Reply
    • Paul -  June 21, 2015 - 6:59 am

      I recently heard my Oncologist use this word to describe “units or dose of radiation” in medical terms.

      Reply
    • kuldude -  June 21, 2015 - 9:11 pm

      25 Shades of Grey
      +
      25 Shades of Gray

      Reply
    • DD -  June 24, 2015 - 6:16 pm

      The Grey in 50 Shades is the name of the main character. Coincidentally, the author is British.

      Reply
    • Shell -  June 30, 2015 - 11:31 pm

      Perhaps because I’m an Aussie, ‘though English was not my ‘birth’ language, (it’s even more complicated than it sounds,) I get a bit worked about Americanism of English.
      I KNOW that language is, and should be, an organic, ever developing entity, yet I detest the spelling “gray.” Just seeing it annoys me.

      Although I will admit that the author of “Fifty Shades…” amused me by using both spelling – “-ey” as a name and “-ay” for the colour. I was pretty sure she was going to drive a few people crazy.

      Reply
  63. ben -  June 19, 2015 - 6:17 am

    this is how i choose::

    Gray = blacker & darker

    Grey = “exposed & “e”lluminated

    imo, since it seems that the names of most colors have the letter “e” in them, i would use “grey” in color schemes.

    but it begs the question if “black” should not be spelled as “blacke” and “brown” as “browne”., since “negro” and “cafe” do.

    :-)

    Reply
    • [unknown] -  June 19, 2015 - 12:03 pm

      that is the dumbest thing ive heard, blacke and browne?? because all colors HAVE to have “E”‘s!

      Reply
      • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:20 am

        yes i agree with the e fact

        Reply
      • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:20 am

        your ben

        Reply
    • Lol -  June 20, 2015 - 9:46 am

      I agree with you, ben. The word “grey” seems to fit in with the other colors that have the letter “e” in them. And the question about black being spelled “blacke” and brown being spelled “browne”, imo, I don’t think it makes much difference, black is black, and brown is brown.

      Reply
    • mojo-jojoba -  June 22, 2015 - 8:52 am

      This may be the dumbest comment I’ve ever seen. Ben is single-handedly trying to invite grammar rules that are arbitrary and meaningless. Find some other hobby, Ben.

      Reply
      • maria -  November 25, 2015 - 6:36 am

        For synesthetics it’s not dumb.

        Reply
  64. Chan chun hei -  June 19, 2015 - 2:24 am

    duh, just the spelling is different. It depends which grey you would like write.

    Reply
  65. ... -  June 18, 2015 - 8:04 pm

    Grey, definitely

    Reply
  66. gary -  June 18, 2015 - 10:42 am

    There must be at least 50 shades of this.

    Reply
    • glob stopper -  June 18, 2015 - 4:42 pm

      I would distinguish these by saying that “gray” is the name of the color, whereas “grey” would be describing the appearance of something in this color: “the grey pilgrim”.

      Reply
      • Jeremy -  June 19, 2015 - 2:59 pm

        I think that is a very awkward interpretation. It’s better to keep things simple and use one word, either “grey” (chiefly British English) or “gray” (predominantly American English) to describe not only the colour but also the appearance of something in that colour. So the description to your example could be “the grey-suited pilgrim”. Imagine the unnecessary complexity if your logic extended to other colours : the colour silver, the silvar [sic] pilgrim; the colour orange, the orenge [sic] pilgrim, etc.

        Reply
    • Kbar -  June 18, 2015 - 5:49 pm

      I see what you did there *laughs!*

      Reply
    • bob jones -  June 20, 2015 - 10:38 am

      In the book, however, the character’s name is Grey, and so it is referring to a proper noun rather than the color.

      Reply
  67. Joe -  June 18, 2015 - 3:50 am

    Pronunciation is a matter of dialect. There is a proper form of written English depending on which side of the pond you live on. But the spoken form of the language varies between populations within countries & between countries themselves.
    So “.. a house” may be the proper written form but it is not wrong to say “an ‘ouse” The spoken form always trumps the written form. As is evident in the British aluminium & the American aluminum.

    Reply
  68. Jon boy -  June 17, 2015 - 6:56 pm

    My mother’s ancestors were named Grey. They lived in northern Wales, but are thought to be originally from England since there are not many Welsh “Grey”s. I use “gray” for the color. There are many variations in surnames since writing is a relatively new skill for humans in history. My grandmother’s surname was Sachs but was spelled “Sox” (with a short “o” like the footwear) for many years after coming to America because the German pronunciation sounded like “sox.” The spelling was corrected in more recent years and is now pronounced “sax” (with a short “a” like “sacks”) by our family.

    Reply
    • Aodan -  June 19, 2015 - 4:52 am

      I do just the opposite to Jon boy because my mother’s family is/was Gray. Even though I live in the USA, I spell the “color” grey and our name Gray. This article states that the word is of Anglo-Saxon origin but other sources say that it is of Norman origin at least in the name form. Little doubt there are many precedents but my name is from the Scottish clan of Gray from the north of old Northumbria southeast of Edinburg.

      Reply
      • Beth -  June 26, 2015 - 7:12 pm

        Norwegian for grey/gray is grå, pronounced approximately like ‘grow’.

        Reply
  69. BLAA -  June 17, 2015 - 5:47 pm

    i hate people

    Reply
    • buddyamigo -  June 19, 2015 - 5:50 am

      Me toooooo! Wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if there just weren’t , all these damn people around, mucking everything up and causing all this nasty destruction?

      Reply
      • FWDSFEDS -  June 22, 2015 - 12:29 am

        -.- News for you! :D Yur a person. Congratulations m8

        Reply
        • interested in English -  September 4, 2015 - 12:21 am

          HELLO!
          so r u!

          Reply
    • Leopard -  June 19, 2015 - 10:43 am

      Why?

      Reply
  70. hasan -  June 17, 2015 - 4:52 am

    amazing

    Reply
  71. Vueiy -  June 16, 2015 - 11:44 pm

    “Gray” is indeed more often used in America, whereas “Grey” seems to be more common in the UK (not sure about Australia, New Zealand, or any others). Being an American, I usually use “gray,” but when I’m writing and want to convey a more bleak or desolate feeling, I’ll often use “grey” instead.

    Reply
    • Madeline -  June 17, 2015 - 1:12 pm

      I agree with Vueiy

      Reply
      • BLAA -  June 17, 2015 - 5:44 pm

        copy cater f u i don’t like copy caters madeline

        Reply
        • Mr S -  June 22, 2015 - 3:10 am

          please revise your phraseology. I find it offensive

          Reply
      • BLAA -  June 17, 2015 - 5:45 pm

        are you a gril

        Reply
        • Chan chun hei -  June 19, 2015 - 2:24 am

          I suppose

          Reply
        • GOSU -  June 19, 2015 - 3:56 am

          hot grill

          Reply
        • Hmmm -  June 19, 2015 - 8:51 am

          Is that your idea of a pickup line? lol

          Reply
          • What?? -  June 20, 2015 - 2:54 am

            he doesn’t like copy caters…gril

    • me -  June 17, 2015 - 5:17 pm

      Australians generally follow the English spelling for most words including Grey. For example we spell Colour not Color and Favourite not Favorite.

      Reply
      • HankW501 -  June 20, 2015 - 1:45 am

        So what you’re saying is when it comes to spelling, England and Australia are in a different organisation? ;)

        Reply
      • Cathy -  July 6, 2015 - 4:43 pm

        Nice to see a fellow Aussie here. All these Yankees can,t spell!

        Reply
    • Shayna -  June 18, 2015 - 12:27 am

      Smart Alex!:0

      Reply
    • lynh -  June 18, 2015 - 5:15 am

      It’s “grey” in Oz. Australia and New Zealand generally use British spellings.

      Reply
      • Bri -  June 19, 2015 - 5:24 am

        Excuse me Lynh, can you tell me where Oz is?

        Reply
        • Urinal2001 -  June 21, 2015 - 5:37 am

          Cant work out if you are serious or not, but ‘Oz’ is a shortened variant of ‘Australia’.

          Reply
        • travelmait -  June 21, 2015 - 6:35 am

          Live half my life in the antipodes (NZ), they all refer to Australia as “Oz”.
          It’s in the pronounciation

          Reply
    • Sandy -  June 18, 2015 - 11:00 am

      It’s grey in Canada. Having grown up on the border, I learned the difference early. As for spelling, don’t forget greige.

      Reply
    • SMG -  June 19, 2015 - 4:23 am

      We use Grey in South Africa

      Reply
      • Mr S -  June 22, 2015 - 3:18 am

        it is interesting to see the enduring legacy of the British Empire, more than 6 decades after the political dissolution of the Empire. U.S. America have had a conscious striving not to be British for two centuries whereas the Commonwealth has been happier to follow the UK lead, meaning that they’ve adopted our grammatical conventions

        Reply
        • Alison -  June 22, 2015 - 11:11 pm

          I think you hit the nail on the head there…..at least the Canadians decided to drive on the correct side of the road, as we do in America….lol

          Reply
      • Max Weber -  June 25, 2015 - 8:52 am

        Used “grey” in mountains of Kentucky too. Until coming to South Carolina where I thought “Gray” was a boy’s name, it was one of my friend’s names.
        I think we can probably peg Crayola as making “gray” popular as a color name.

        Reply
    • Karl -  June 19, 2015 - 8:41 am

      Interesting, Vueiy. I’m an American who grew up in an area of the Carribean with more Brit influence than American, and that might be why I see the word as you do. Grey tends to have a more serious, somewhat bland and even overcast tenor to it, whereas gray (which I generally prefer now) is more open and closer to a lighted and smiling face, you might say. :) Consequently, I have this odd habit of usually writing grey, then returning later and editing the word to gray. :)

      I always thought it was just me and my oddly synesthetic mind, but your comment makes me think it is actually rooted in the formation of the word and culture. I like that.

      Reply
      • Maren -  June 24, 2015 - 1:04 pm

        Oh Karl! Are you really synesthetic? I’d like to try that for a time not permanently. I agree with your initial answer, but try not to edit it.
        How about: you see grey on the moors and gray in concrete jungles?

        Reply
  72. Sussana -  June 16, 2015 - 11:40 pm

    Is “H” the Vowel Word ??
    then whether it is addressed as a House or an House???

    Reply
    • Caleb -  June 17, 2015 - 2:02 pm

      Grammatically, “a house” is more correct. Not all vowel words are reserved to only use the article “an”; some words use “a”.

      a unicycle

      Plus, the “h” sound in “house” is spoken; therefore it is not a vowel word.

      a house

      Reply
      • Joe -  June 18, 2015 - 3:37 am

        House or ‘ouse, is a matter of dialect.
        I’m sure in some parts of Great Britain “an ‘ouse” is used more often than the American & other dilect “a House”. If you drop the H “an ‘ouse” would be correct.

        Reply
      • glob stopper -  June 18, 2015 - 4:45 pm

        yea, but one says “an historical”, not “an ‘istorical”

        Reply
        • Me -  June 22, 2015 - 9:00 am

          “an historical” is incorrect, it is “a historical”.
          It has to do with how the pronunciation of the “H” sounds.
          If it is a consonant sound such as hospital in is “a”.
          If it is a vowel sound such as hour in is “an”.
          For example, I is an honor to be provided with a home.

          Reply
      • DD -  June 24, 2015 - 6:20 pm

        I am pretty sure it is correct to say an hotel.

        Reply
    • Libitha Paul -  June 18, 2015 - 12:24 am

      “H” is not a vowel word. Therefore it is addressed as a House.

      Reply
      • Libitha Paul -  June 18, 2015 - 12:26 am

        The vowel words are ‘a, e, i, o, u.

        Reply
        • Mark -  June 18, 2015 - 9:42 am

          Yet: “It’s an honor.”

          Reply
          • Brian -  June 18, 2015 - 2:19 pm

            Well, a more correct way to explain it would be the vowel sounds. The vowel sounds a, e, i, o, u, and vowel diphthongs are those that are preceded by the article “an.” the word honor starts with an h, but the first sounds is that of a short o; therefore, you use an. An example of where is may be confusing is in the word herb and its variants. Some people pronounce it with the h and some without. So, you could say, “A herb,” and still be just as correct as saying, “An herb.”

          • badd -  June 19, 2015 - 1:15 pm

            what about the word homage? is it pronounced ha-mij, or ah-mij, or o-mahj?

          • sword mite101 -  June 25, 2015 - 12:21 am

            no no no no

    • katerina -  June 18, 2015 - 3:55 am

      When it comes to the letter H it is considered a vowel when it sounds like one e.g: hour, honest, heir, ( these sound like aa oo ee ) but it is a consonant when it reads like one e.g: house , horse ( they read like h and sound as consonants). The same applies to the letter u e.g: umbrella ( aa) as opposed to university ( sounds like u ) so all in all some letters have a double role depending on their sound.

      Reply
    • Chan chun hei -  June 19, 2015 - 2:25 am

      Plz don’t forget we are talking about grey.

      Reply
  73. Michelle -  June 16, 2015 - 9:48 am

    “Gray” as spelling of color name and “Grey” as spelling of a family name or title … the “Earl of Grey.”
    Plus tea name!

    Reply
    • Christopher Bessette -  June 16, 2015 - 10:43 am

      Grey – is used typically in Canadian / British English spelling, Gray – is used typically in American English spelling.

      Reply
      • Norma Reid -  June 16, 2015 - 7:55 pm

        Yeah, that’s what I thought too!

        Reply
        • What?? -  June 20, 2015 - 2:56 am

          Meanwhile Singaporeans (at least myself) don’t even know which one I use…

          Reply
      • MzAli C. -  June 20, 2015 - 8:07 pm

        @Christopher Bessette

        Basically! You said it! There is no difference in meaning between the two spelling “gray” and “grey” other than the fact that if you use “gray” you’re most likely from the United States or American influenced, and if you spell it with an “e” you were taught the British way. People, it’s the same with using the comma between ‘and’ or not using it at all. For example, “There were three things she wanted to do before she died, learn to swim, fly a plane and climb Mount Everest.” < This is the British way. This is the American way: "There were three things she wanted to do before she died, learn to swim, fly a plane, and climb Mount Everest." BOTH are grammatically correct and convey the same meaning; likewise, with the spellings "gray" and "grey."

        Reply
        • Andrew -  July 5, 2015 - 2:01 am

          It is not quite as clear as that. I am from the Unites States, without any British influence in my education, and yet have always spelled it “grey” and learned the comma before the conjunction was optional, and usually omit it. So, though it is convenient to pretend this is akin to colour/color or civilization/civilisation and the like, it seems this division is not as clear cut.

          Reply
          • Frank Casale -  July 6, 2015 - 6:39 pm

            Yes! Eric. It is definitely confusing, as far as putting a comma after a conjunction!
            I was taught in High School to do it, whereas you were taught that it was optional- very confusing!!

        • Andrew -  July 5, 2015 - 2:05 am

          If there is a double post, please forgive me, but my original comment did not show up.

          I think your statement is the general belief about these two matters, but I would argue the division is not as clear cut. Unlike colour/color or civilisation/civilization, I know many from the United States, myself included, who both use “grey” and also learned the comma before the conjunction was option, and often omit it. I have no British influence in my education, but have always used both practices you describe as being from the UK, and know many others who do the same.

          Reply
    • bob -  June 17, 2015 - 1:38 am

      christian grey.

      Reply
    • Claire -  June 17, 2015 - 1:59 am

      Unfortunately, Gray is also common as a name – family name as well as first name. We have many more Grays as a family name than Greys. And he was the Earl Grey, because Grey was his family name, not of Grey. Sorry, I’m being very pernickety here, aren’t I?!

      Reply
    • Rob -  June 17, 2015 - 2:51 am

      I would say that the colour of my hair is gray but, the colour of my suit is grey.

      Reply
      • Skipper -  November 1, 2016 - 10:25 am

        Mighty fine tilkin thor!

        Reply
    • JohnB -  June 17, 2015 - 3:11 am

      That’s the way I was taught also.

      Reply
    • Aurora gray -  June 17, 2015 - 3:14 am

      Actually, both are agreed names ‘gray’ would be my last name also ‘grey’ is acceptable as a name too

      Reply
    • James J -  June 17, 2015 - 10:21 am

      Heard it this way Gr A y for America Gr E y for England.

      Reply
  74. Tom Sawyer -  June 16, 2015 - 2:41 am

    Could somebody tell me please the difference between “a historical … & an historical …” or “a heroic … & an heroic …”?

    Reply
    • Schism -  June 16, 2015 - 1:08 pm

      @ Tom Sawyer, I think you only write ‘an’ before a word beginning with a vowel…

      Reply
      • James J -  June 17, 2015 - 10:22 am

        Except where the sound has a vowel sound such as an hour.

        Reply
    • Hazy -  June 16, 2015 - 3:08 pm

      It’s obvious that you would use “an” before words like, hour and honor, because you don’t pronounce the h, therefore it’s the same as using, an, before a vowel. I don’t really get using it before all h’s. Yet if you are going to use a instead of an, I think it sounds better with a long a. Just like when you say, The earth, it sounds better with a long e. These might not be grammar truths but they work in the real world.

      Reply
      • TedR -  June 17, 2015 - 5:21 am

        It’s not just obvious, it’s correct It’s the first SOUND of the following word, not the LETTER, than determines A vs AN. However, I don’t agree about the long A before HOUR, but I do agree about a long E in THE before a word that begins with a vowel sound. To me, when people (George W Bush was a good example), use the long A excessively, it sounds odd. I don’t know if they are reliving first grade when they were reading word by word in their primer, or if they think it sounds more ‘correct’ or distinguished, but it just sounds odd.

        Reply
        • Hazy -  June 17, 2015 - 2:34 pm

          I only meant long a in words that you hear the H in. Like historical. Short a before words like that sound awkward, but so does an, in my opinion. Actually all three do. Just start with, Historically… then you don’t have to worry about it. ;o)

          Reply
        • Alison -  June 23, 2015 - 3:01 am

          PLEASE don’t use George W. Bush as an example of anything representing the U. S., he’s an utter moron.

          Reply
    • Mitch Clogg -  June 16, 2015 - 7:07 pm

      “An” is snootier than “a.” Also, in speaking, some people find it easier to mouth “an historical [event, or whatever]” than “a historical…” If you choose this “an,” you drop the h off of “historical” like you do from “honest.” (We’re not supposed to say, “a honest man”).

      Reply
    • Rob -  June 17, 2015 - 2:55 am

      Generally the grammartical rule is to use “an” instead of “a” before a word beginning with a vowel or a vowel sounding word.

      Reply
    • Shannon -  June 17, 2015 - 3:43 am

      Some people don’t pronounce the h in ‘historical’, I would look to certain Irish accents for examples.

      Reply
      • HankW501 -  June 20, 2015 - 2:09 am

        I agree that for many words it depends upon the accent or dialect. A word may start with a silent H in one region or country while elsewhere the H in the same word is pronounced. Also, if I remember right, it is much more common to see the ‘an’ article with h___ words in works that are several hundred years old. I wonder if most Hispanic people when speaking English pronounce the H in hotel, since the word is spelled the same in English and Spanish, but in Spanish H’s are silent.

        I remember wondering as a child why most vowel sounds are preceded by ‘an’ while the long U sound is preceded by ‘a’. I suppose it’s because it sounds like it starts with a Y (yü).

        Reply
    • Jeff -  June 17, 2015 - 5:56 am

      Hazel is right – it has to do with the pronunciation. In general “an” is used before words starting with a vowel. However when talking about the vowels themselves, whilst you say “an A”, “an E”, “an I” and “an O” but of course you say “a U”. On the other hand you also say “an F” or “an S”…
      With regard to the H (“an H” = “aitch”) – apart from hour and honour, which are obvious “an” words, hotel is often written with “an”. Perhaps this goes back to the French origins of the word where the “H” is not pronounced.

      Reply
      • DD -  June 24, 2015 - 6:23 pm

        In Australia, many people pronounce the letter H as haitch rather than aitch. It makes me grind my teeth.

        Reply
  75. Mark -  June 16, 2015 - 2:31 am

    Grey or gray, but I find the comments about British vs American singers accents interesting. Actually on the UK side of the pond I often find myself wondering if a new act is British or American as you cannot a ascertain an American accent when most US singers perform

    Reply
    • Joe Blow -  June 16, 2015 - 11:45 am

      Agreed. I feel the same way about some UK musicians, especially so considering half the people on youtube I watch online are from the UK. Really, in terms of gaming, the countries are identical, both appearing in and commentating games similarly enough that I can hardly tell the difference anymore unless I look for them specifically.

      Reply
    • Beth -  June 26, 2015 - 7:31 pm

      An interesting observation. When learning Norwegian as a 2nd language I did well in all provinces except Trøndelag. They understood me; I couldn’t understand them. Singing in a choir with one member from that province, we discovered that if he sang, I understood him! So he and I sang in all our conversations. (And strangers stared, of course.)

      Reply
  76. Tom Sawyer -  June 16, 2015 - 1:24 am

    I learnt English as a foreign language and was taught that both spellings are correct!

    Reply
    • joel -  June 16, 2015 - 6:06 pm

      Me too (as say Americans) OR I also (British)

      Reply
      • Chris -  June 19, 2015 - 3:08 am

        Nobody says “I also”. Not in Britain anyway.

        Reply
        • Alison -  June 23, 2015 - 3:13 am

          I would be surprised if you didn’t say “I also” when beginning a sentence. In the U.S., you might hear “I, too, would like to get that” or “I also would like that”, with the latter being likelier.

          Reply
  77. اهلا و سهلا -  June 16, 2015 - 1:23 am

    I learned English as a foreign language and was taught that both spellings are correct!

    Reply
  78. lilhap -  June 15, 2015 - 11:50 pm

    Either way, they are worth the same in scrabble. I hate any kind of bully, including english snobs. English snobs are so busy picking apart how something is said that they usually don’t know what was said. I have a feeling the snobs text everything perfectly and it takes 2 days per text. Have a good life!

    Reply
    • Michelle -  June 16, 2015 - 10:06 am

      Hi Lilhap. How right you are about texting snobs! Seeing a lot of snobbery on this site from “English” snobs who will reply with very snarky comments if your text has ANY errors. This is a texting reply site, not an English 101 class. Everyone knows texting is for quick responses, commenting, exchanging ideas etc. Site not for “English Professor Wanna-be’s” or p’ off rejected “writers” to take out their frustrations. Ok, off my soapbox.

      Reply
    • Hazy -  June 16, 2015 - 3:18 pm

      I agree, but one type of person that is like the opposite are the ones, like my sister who is nearly 60, who brag about how bad their grammar and vocabulary are. She thinks that people with big vocabularies are snobs and she doesn’t want to be a snob. It makes me want to throw an old fashioned dictionary at her. These are really basic and everyone knows them but a good example is if I wanted to discuss what I thought was the biggest difference between theology and evolution and the person had never heard of the terms, look at how many words you would have to use to try to get them to the beginning of the conversation.

      Reply
      • TedR -  June 17, 2015 - 5:42 am

        I’m probably one of those language snobs, but I’ve learned to resist the urge to correct someone else’s errors, up to a point . . . I ignore obvious typos. I ignore language errors from people who clearly don’t know better. What I have a hard time ignoring is errors from people who SHOULD know better. A common recent example is when educated people say “he and I’ when they should say “him and me”. If you know what I’m talking about, no more needs to be said. If you don’t and you think you’re educated, take a look at a third grade grammar book where it teaches you the difference between a subject and object pronoun.

        Reply
        • Beth Stuchel -  June 28, 2015 - 6:00 am

          Shouldn’t that be the other way around? Correct the people that are uneducated so they may learn, and ignore the educated who choose to incorrectly use it?

          Reply
  79. Justin -  June 15, 2015 - 9:54 pm

    Grey is for England/ British and Gray is for English right?

    Reply
    • Justin -  June 15, 2015 - 9:55 pm

      yup you are awesome

      Reply
  80. Violetseven -  June 15, 2015 - 12:28 pm

    This is an interesting statement ” in his work Chromatography; or, a Treatise on Colours and Pigments, and of their Powers in Painting published in 1835, the chemist George Field wrote that gray “denotes a class of cool cinereous colours in which blue predominates,” while Field reserves grey to describe a more neutral shade.” Am taken way back to my 9th. grade Art class. Under the guidance of our Art Teacher we created a color chart by mixing colors(colours) and we created ‘grey/gray’ (s)with both blue tones(being cooler in general) and brown tones(being warmer in general) they varied depending on the percentage of each color mixed together. Further note as I have Scottish kin with the last name “Gray”, so I just looked that up and see for yourselves how many ways Gray has been spelled :-)https://www.houseofnames.com/gray-family-crest

    Reply
    • Joshua Gray -  July 6, 2015 - 11:59 am

      Yes, there was a time when the surnames were not spelled the same as the color. This is an aspect the article overlooks, but it certainly does complicate things now that they are all spelled the same (for reasons unknown). It is almost as if the Gray & Grey families now own the color. For the record, as a Gray, I spell the color with an ‘e’ to show that my name has nothing to do with a a color while also poking fun at the Greys of England .. hehe. I am American.

      Reply
  81. Jay -  June 15, 2015 - 4:12 am

    Language, written or spoken is a an imperfect medium of conveying ideas . Even the most profound lines can be misinterpreted. The Bible comes to mind as a text that can be misread and of cause British comedy is a area of spoken language that can easily lose the listener’s concept of reality.

    Reply
  82. bjm -  June 12, 2015 - 12:36 am

    What a waste of time. Whatever spelling you use doesn’t make a difference how much progress to make in life.

    Reply
    • bjm -  June 12, 2015 - 12:39 am

      “You make” not “to make”.

      Reply
    • Gabriel Mohler -  June 15, 2015 - 12:04 pm

      Well guess what pal? No one forced you to read this. So don’t complain because you chose to read something that wouldn’t help you in life. People who are interested in linguistics will find it interesting. If you don’t, don’t read it, Einstein.

      Reply
    • SCC -  June 15, 2015 - 1:30 pm

      I got here by mistake. I never would have expected such venom over a spelling choice.

      Reply
      • Cathy -  July 6, 2015 - 4:52 pm

        I also (!) got here by mistake and have wasted twenty minutes reading comments. I dont have any more time to waste, but it is fun! Go for it, all you timewasters!

        Reply
    • Diana Barton -  June 15, 2015 - 4:15 pm

      I confess, as a young writer, I used both gray and grey. I did not use them interchangeably, however. In addition to the denotation, the explicit meaning of the word, there are always connotations, those ideas that shade our understanding of the term.
      I found that “grey” evokes in me a sense of bleakness, loneliness, or darkness. “Gray”, on the other hand, in its all-American, squashed-vowel Midwest accent, is both more prosaic and more cheerful.
      One beauty of the English language is the myriad of ways to express similar concepts and subtle nuances without the tedium of constant overuse of just a few words.

      Reply
      • Lilium G. -  June 25, 2015 - 6:27 pm

        Oh yes! I’ve used both in my books as well, and each evokes a different feeling for me, especially with my synesthesia. Although I do avoid using them both in one text, as it creates confusion. Sometimes I wonder if this was just another way for Americans to further themselves from the British. If so, it created a bundle of confusion.

        Reply
  83. Pritika -  June 11, 2015 - 7:43 pm

    Why doesn’t the world just adopt one way of spelling, preferably the British? Americans have unnecessarily complicated matters by tweaking the spelling of a lot of English words. If they had to differentiate themselves from their brethren from across the pond, they should have simply founded a new language! Grey vs gray, tyre vs tire, colour vs color, and many more, are a source of constant irritation to people who are familiar with, and appreciate, the English language in its purity. Not just that, they changed the way they write the date as well…I’m still struggling with that after two years of living in this country!

    Reply
    • Louis Philips -  June 12, 2015 - 1:12 pm

      Yet when nearly every British performer sings, their pronunciation is the way Americans say the words! So we might as well go with our version of spelling too. Just saying.

      Reply
    • FROGLICK_11 -  June 13, 2015 - 1:05 am

      Because the more they confuse then the more they can sneak in the back door and do their twisted deeds

      Reply
    • Charles Wittenbrook -  June 13, 2015 - 3:59 am

      How do they write the date?

      Reply
      • Schism -  June 16, 2015 - 1:18 pm

        They write the month before the date.

        So 24.12.14 is written 12.24.15.

        Reply
    • Jimmie -  June 13, 2015 - 10:55 am

      Pritika, you wrote “the English language in its purity.” There, in a nutshell, is your error. You expect English to be pure. It’s not. Language is a messy thing that evolves over time. It’s not static because it’s used by humans and humans are a messy lot.

      And the world, by the way, won’t “just adopt one way of spelling” because no one is in charge of the world … and that’s a good thing.

      Reply
    • Thatguy Uknow -  June 13, 2015 - 4:11 pm

      That’s like saying anyone who doesn’t speak English is unnecessarily complicating matters because they spell things differently than English speakers do.

      Reply
    • Pam Clement -  June 15, 2015 - 11:55 am

      Have you ever wondered why American and British people have a different accent when we have the same ancestors? Why is it difficult to discern the British accent in most British singers? It is because the British didn’t want to be associated with the Colonists in any way to the point that they chose to speak differently.

      Reply
      • Michelle -  June 16, 2015 - 9:11 am

        Hi Pam. I’ve noticed the “lack of accent” with British singers. I watched a PBS series years ago called “The Story of English.” Details story of English language, origins, influences, migration, including British colonies around the world. Most interesting is how different regional accents came into being; exposure to different cultures, etc. also available as a book. Pretty cool!

        Reply
    • logates -  June 15, 2015 - 1:34 pm

      Noah Webster learned over a dozen languages before compiling his American Dictionary of the English Language, choosing spellings that were closest to the American pronunciation of words — color vs colour. His dictionary was the most popular in America because it did not favor one particular country, but included words, spellings and pronunciations that represented the diverse population that already existed in the 1800s. Until Webster’s publication, American dictionaries favored the author/compiler’s country of origin and were only popular with those of similar background. This may explain why OUGH is pronounced so many different ways.

      Reply
    • Schism -  June 16, 2015 - 1:13 pm

      Whoa…talk about national! Since when is the English language pure?

      If you live in America, then learn to be an American!

      Reply
      • Beth Stuchel -  June 28, 2015 - 6:07 am

        What is there to learn about being your own person? Isn’t that what America is suppose to be about? Freedom to be who you want to be and who you are?

        Reply
    • Mike Veracity -  June 18, 2015 - 7:08 am

      As a Canadian I live a schizophrenic life often tailoring my writing to whomever I’m writing to. But I usually favor the U.S. because it is more phonetic and drops useless letters. One big exception is I always use cheque instead of check.

      Reply
  84. Jim -  June 11, 2015 - 5:17 pm

    The subject used a word that I am unfamiliar with. Whats the meaning and spelling of the word “nuanced”

    Reply
    • Jimmie -  June 13, 2015 - 11:00 am

      Jim, if you look around, you might be able to find a dictionary to help you with the meaning of words. ;-)

      Reply
    • Yay -  June 15, 2015 - 2:10 pm

      Yeah this is on a dictionary website! :)

      Reply
  85. chapster67 -  June 11, 2015 - 3:07 pm

    I have a friend whose last name is Grey, and I always forget how to spell which way. It changes depending on the day. When I look out the window and horse is eating hay, its gray with an a. Then one day horse hurt her knee, and yelped ney ney, so that day grey came with an e.
    . a e i o u . . . tootaloo. . .

    Reply
  86. Chuck Denk -  June 11, 2015 - 1:21 pm

    I’ve known for most of my 50+ years that “gray” and “grey” have the same meaning. I tend to use ‘a’ when I write the word; however, when I say the word, I don’t eeven think about how I would spell it if f were writing the word instead of saying it. (BTW, I am a native born American who has only gone to American schools – iin the USA.)

    Reply
    • Mary -  June 12, 2015 - 12:23 am

      i am over 60, and I too was taught that either would be correct. I was born in the USA and lived here all of my life.

      Reply
      • Anna -  June 13, 2015 - 1:10 am

        Mary,

        I have just found this site, so, may I ask, where is “here” for you?
        Cheers
        Anna (Australia)…..

        Reply
        • yves -  June 23, 2015 - 1:40 pm

          “here” is where I am, silly
          ;-)

          Reply
          • Paul -  June 23, 2015 - 11:49 pm

            No, you’re quite mistaken. I’m pretty sure you’re not here, so you must be over there somewhere.
            ;-)

  87. Patrick -  June 11, 2015 - 12:12 pm

    Several people have suggested that their use of “Grey/Gray” varies between written and verbal presentations. Is this phonically possible ?

    Reply
    • Chuck Denk -  June 11, 2015 - 1:25 pm

      Phonetically, I cannot distinguish any difference in pronunciation, as ‘a’ and ‘e’ are both pronounced the same in that context.

      Reply
  88. Anne Williams -  June 11, 2015 - 11:34 am

    I have always used GREY for the colour as I speak and write English as the English DID circa 1949-1960 ish. I felt also that most folk with surnames of ‘colour’ used GRAY in the UK mostly, excepting the family of GREY of Falloden. Today,it is very warm and sunny in th UKbut in winter we have some very grey days.
    Also, why do folk have to use such obscenities on this site.??
    Thought that they did on Youtube and such like.

    Reply
  89. Douglas Good -  June 11, 2015 - 11:25 am

    Brits also drink a lot of tea, much of it brand-named: (attrib) Earl + Grey;
    Americans not so much.

    Reply
    • Frank Casale -  June 16, 2015 - 6:22 pm

      This American loves tea! Specifically, Green tea!

      Reply
    • Chaz DeSimone -  July 8, 2015 - 5:58 pm

      I suppose we Americans should spell ours Earl Gray. And add more caffeine.

      Reply
  90. gabreeEl -  June 11, 2015 - 11:23 am

    i think i prefer #wordfact to #wordfortheday

    Reply
  91. Joe -  June 11, 2015 - 11:19 am

    This discrepancies in spelling is annoying when it is used as a surname. I work for a police dept. and take routine calls from officers in other divisions. I know at least half a dozen officers with the last name of Gray/Grey, and none are related. I get a slight feeling of embarrassment when I have to ask a caller, “which spelling do you use?”. Now that I know the origin of the spellings and that they are equally acceptable, I will stop fretting over this. I think I will now go have a cup of tea, Earl Grey, of course!

    Reply
    • Anna -  June 13, 2015 - 1:14 am

      Joe,

      Have just read a book called, “Don’t sweat the small stuff”

      Should you ever have to use the moniker, SMITH, you would understand that Grey/Gray don’t matter a bit. I have been asked so many times how to spell my surname that, had I received dollar each time, I would not have a house mortgage.
      Cheers,
      Anna Smith

      Reply
    • Hazy -  June 16, 2015 - 3:27 pm

      Sorry but you do still have to fret over it. It doesn’t matter how you spell it if you are using it as a color, but if it’s someones name then it’s set and you have to spell it correctly, which is however they spell it.

      Reply
  92. Joan -  June 11, 2015 - 11:16 am

    Mr Gray is wearing a grey suit

    Reply
    • Yay -  June 15, 2015 - 2:11 pm

      lol :D

      Reply
  93. Ricky Forguson -  June 11, 2015 - 10:53 am

    In written presentations I use the word “gray”, but for oral presentations I like to use “grey”. It makes me sound more cosmopolitan. And, YES, I’m half English, so all of you “e” vs. “a” wankers can just go bugger off!

    Reply
    • Chuck Denk -  June 11, 2015 - 1:32 pm

      As the word is pronounced the same, regardless of how it’s spelled, your statement about pronouncing the word as if it were spelled with an ‘e’ has no meaningful content.

      Reply
      • Randall or Randle? -  June 13, 2015 - 9:48 am

        I beg to differ that Ricky’s statement has no meaningful content. If he is trying to inject humor/humour into the discussion then he has succeeded. It is obvious that one cannot tell which spelling of gray/grey is preferred when a speaker is saying the word. That is why his statement is humorous.

        Reply
    • Anna -  June 13, 2015 - 1:16 am

      Ricky,
      Love it!
      Anna

      Reply
  94. Matt Knighton -  June 11, 2015 - 10:51 am

    When in Rome, do as the Romans; but for now,
    I live quite contentedly in America. If I ever make it to the UK (and when I visit Canada occasionally), I will defer to the preferences of local culture, lest I offend the natives.

    Reply
  95. nathan -  June 11, 2015 - 10:45 am

    Who cares. .We all know the meaning and that’s what really matters .

    Reply
    • Matt Knighton -  June 11, 2015 - 10:59 am

      Well, not really, Nathan. I think I catch your drift, but spelling is important. When communicating through the written word, if one doesn’t express oneself accurately and intelligently, the reading audience will be rather disinclined to read what you have to say because they’re thinking, “This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”
      Make it a point to communicate in a way that makes people want to listen. If you don’t, “what’s the point?”

      Reply
      • Carol Valentine -  June 11, 2015 - 9:03 pm

        I completely agree, Matt. A well-written response to an idiotic statement. Well done. I wish more people would remember such advice.

        Reply
    • Ines -  June 11, 2015 - 12:03 pm

      Hello Nathan: spanish speakers DO care. We like to learn.
      Don’t be arrogant, would you be so kind as to think about it?

      Reply
  96. Scarlett -  June 11, 2015 - 10:31 am

    For me it’s a matter of preference, I just like “grey” better and always use that spelling. I agree with others, “grey” just seems sharper, like it has more class.

    Reply
  97. Jackie -  June 11, 2015 - 7:20 am

    I feel grey looks sharper, though gray is so common that I use it when writing descriptions and searching online.

    Reply
  98. jyoyoyoy -  June 11, 2015 - 7:14 am

    I’m from the UK and I cannot think of a single English person of whom I know that would consider ‘gray’ to be an acceptable spelling other than as an allowance for those of American extraction. Which is only to say that, in my experience, the spellings over here do not really enjoy equal cultural acceptability, whereas the article’s tenor suggests somewhat otherwise.

    Reply
    • Linda -  June 11, 2015 - 10:05 am

      Since America is truly a melting pot of cultures, it is common to see many language variations incorporated into every day life. Theater vs theatre is another example. Culturally speaking, aside from the native american indian, we all came from somewhere else.

      Reply
      • Matt Knighton -  June 11, 2015 - 11:02 am

        True, but it’s still America.

        Reply
    • John Bernhart -  June 11, 2015 - 10:12 am

      I was a principal at an oversees American school in Peru. At open house night I overheard a British parent scolding a teacher for not teaching his son the British spelling of the word ‘Theater.’ I didn’t like the parent’s tenor and politely told the him that, as we are an American school, we teach American English.

      Ironically, I was later a director of a British school but our English text books were from American publishers, so we still taught American spelling. . .

      Reply
      • becky -  June 11, 2015 - 1:07 pm

        As a principal you should know that you were overseas.

        Reply
      • Anna -  June 13, 2015 - 1:18 am

        John,
        Where were you when “oversees” (? sp)….a Principal…….or do I mean it is the principle of the thing? Who knows?
        Anna

        Reply
  99. Felicia -  June 11, 2015 - 4:59 am

    I never really paid much attention, but thinking about it, I think I do the same. One just seems more formal than the other.

    Reply
  100. Dum -  June 11, 2015 - 4:10 am

    But why??

    Reply
  101. Ayush Pandey -  June 10, 2015 - 11:09 pm

    There might be difference or no diffrence in the meaning of two simillar sounding words. The real problem is accepting between AMERICAN and BRITISH grammer. It is important for ENGLISH LANGUAGE to let prevail ONE OF THEM.

    Reply
    • Everett -  June 11, 2015 - 10:35 am

      I don’t mean to pick on you, since English is apparently not your native language. However, your grammar (not grammer) is so poor, I’m not sure what point you’re making. Are you saying you believe it’s important for everyone who speaks English to pick one and stick to it, or are you saying people from England feel more strongly about picking one?

      I would disagree with the idea that one must be chosen, but I don’t have the experience in England to agree or disagree that they tend to insist on one prevailing.

      Reply
    • jefferyDodge -  June 11, 2015 - 12:57 pm

      Why need there be one only spelling of “gray” or “grey”? Quite a number of words in American and English have more than a single accepted, educated orthography. Whether I go to a theater or theatre, I still immerse myself in a good book (I hate theatrical performances). Do my fields care if I plough with a plough, or plow with a plow? I can even go so far as to plough with a plow, and plow with a plough! Do computers run programs or programmes? Am I queueing or queuing while waiting to be served? Is the engine block of my Ferrari an alloy of aluminium or aluminum? I don’t care, nor does my Ferrari (probably because I don’t have one). Being a mathematician (most likely the reason I don’t have a Ferrari), I can find both a circle’s center and its centre.

      After all is thought, said, and done, the basic question remains: “…which is to be master—that’s all” (Lewis Carroll).

      jefferyDodge

      Reply
      • becky -  June 11, 2015 - 1:23 pm

        Well put, jefferyDodge!

        I, too, believe there’s room for both.

        Why be tied down to convention? Or contention?

        (By the way, my grey cat is named Blackie – just to be contrary; and because his mustache reminds me of the debonair detective, Boston Blackie.)

        Reply
      • warjna -  June 11, 2015 - 11:50 pm

        Bravo, jefferyDodge!
        As an American who grew up (for some unknown reason!) reading British-printed books, I had some difficulty in spelling until one wise teacher asked me to bring in the books I read. Then I simply put BOTH spellings on my tests until I got it sorted out. It only took a couple of weeks, fortunately.
        As a Star Trek fan, I will quote Mr. Spock: “A difference that makes no difference is no difference.” I think it applies here, except for some nit-picky types or for school papers. (Gotta give those professors what they want!)
        Your equanimity in the face of variant spelling undoubtedly comes from your own experiences with the spelling of your name: Jeffery vs. Jeffrey vs. Geoffrey. ;-) In your case, of course, as a Star Trek fan I must also quote Commander Data when asked “What’s the difference?” His answer: “One is my name.”
        I run into the same problem with my name, Suellen. Everybody wants to split it into two names, Sue Ellen. I tell them I’m named after Scarlet O’Hara’s sister, not J.R.’s wife.
        In my experience, it seemed to me that as far as the names went (Gray vs. Grey), Gray tended to be the American version, and Grey more the British. By this I mean that those people whose families had been here from around the American Revolution or so used the “a” version, while those whose families came here afterward seemed to use the “e” version. That was my perception–or my (deluded?) explanation to myself. It may be, however, that I picked up the “e” from reading all those British books. YMMV.

        Reply
        • Anna -  June 13, 2015 - 1:26 am

          warjna,

          If your name is Suellen why do you use the moniker..above? As well, do you find that most people, after being introduced to you as Suellen, will inevitably call you SUE?
          How irritating.
          Do you think that it would be easier to just use one or the other despite your protestations that your name is, from your point of view, one word.

          If you had to choose, would you prefer Sue or Ellen?

          Anna
          p.s. this is most important to me today.

          Reply
          • Frank Casale -  June 21, 2015 - 11:14 am

            Sorry, Anna. As far as importance, I looking for something more “challenging” than personal preference!

          • Frank Casale -  June 21, 2015 - 11:23 am

            Correction… ‘I am’. As in ” I am going to stop watching T.V. while I am blogging on my I-Pad!

      • Frank Casale -  June 19, 2015 - 10:16 am

        Remember, jefferydodge. You’re a guest in some one else’s home!

        Reply
      • Andrew -  July 5, 2015 - 2:15 am

        Amazed, being a mathematician, that you forgot to mention is made no difference if you studied math or maths.

        Reply
    • Chuck Denk -  June 11, 2015 - 1:47 pm

      In linguistic terms, American English has more than dialectical differences from British English, as far as language goes. However, how American’s pronounce the words that they say, is mostly dependent upon what part of the British Isles their ancestors came from, than where in the US that they live at. (Of course, if a community has a sufficient minority that have ancestors from, e. g., Sweden, that has to be accounted for too.)

      Reply
  102. prakuapa -  June 10, 2015 - 7:17 pm

    Very useful, need regular update.

    Reply
  103. aleyna -  June 10, 2015 - 3:52 pm

    I use “gray’ when I’m writing informal, and “grey” when I’m writing formal. Otherwise, I just prefer gray

    Reply
    • corianne -  June 10, 2015 - 7:35 pm

      I don’t care what I use. sometimes I write ‘grey’, and sometimes I write ‘gray’. my teacher can get mad at me sometimes when I mix up the words all the time.

      Reply
      • John -  June 11, 2015 - 10:03 am

        You shouldn’t use both in the same paper or essay.

        Reply
        • Matt Knighton -  June 11, 2015 - 11:03 am

          Agreed. Regardless of the form employed, consistency is key.

          Reply
          • Chuck Denk -  June 11, 2015 - 2:02 pm

            When it denotes the color that is halfway between white and black, consistency in the same essay or article is important, barring extenuating circumstances, such as when the article is about the different spellings.

            But, when it comes to names of people or places, context takes precedence. In writing, Mr. Grey should not be referred to as Mr. Gray, nor Mr. Gray as Mr. Grey. (That would, for example, be as exasperating for a Secretary working at the same Police Department as Joe feels on the phone.)

          • Everett -  June 12, 2015 - 10:17 am

            Of course names are spelled and pronounced however the owner of the name defines them (I suppose you could say the person who named it), which is especially obvious in the case of people.

            This point was perfectly illustrated by a scene I like from Star Trek, where the ship’s doctor is addressing Data but mispronounced his name and he corrected her. She says, “Day-tuh, Dat-uh, what’s the difference?” He correctly replies, “one is my name, the other is not.”

            I loved it. And he’s right, of course because he’s nearly perfect at everything.

        • warjna -  June 11, 2015 - 11:52 pm

          I agree too, John! It’s always best to pick the form your teacher / professor requires. It’s needless to get marked down for something so foolish. Been there, done that!

          Reply
        • Frank Casale -  June 13, 2015 - 2:25 pm

          You’re right, John. I remember writing my senior year term paper. For reasons I can’t remember, I had to use the word ‘gray’ in a sentence. I wrote it as ‘grey’ and thought nothing
          of it.
          The English teacher took off three points for spelling. I questioned him on it, he shook his head and said ‘No, I want you to spell it this way (grAy).
          I never spelled the word with an ‘E’ ever since.
          When it comes to spelling a particular word(s), whether it’s an English or American spelling, depends on the teacher and/or
          professor whose grading you!

          Reply
          • Frank Casale -  June 22, 2015 - 1:22 pm

            Basically, the moral of the story still remains: ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

    • Tom -  June 25, 2015 - 4:18 pm

      I remember many years ago when I was a telecommunications technician, the cables had many wires in them and to differentiate between all of them we had a colour code.
      The basic sequence was blue, orange, green, brown and slate with many variations on the second wire in a pair so you could have hundreds of individual wires to identify.
      Many years later I found that our linesmen who were considered blue collar workers at the time used a variation on the colour code blue, orange, green, brown and grey.
      So call it slate and you don’t have to have a grey debate.
      Australian English spoken here.

      Reply
      • tadhgvonnorth -  July 23, 2015 - 10:38 pm

        Slate it is. Well put.
        Norwegian English here !! LOL

        Reply
        • Skipper -  November 1, 2016 - 10:18 am

          Eh, mate I agree! I call the sea slate on one of ‘er bad deys. I din’t no wat kind of ‘glish ’tis.

          Reply

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