Gray plays a prominent role in the uni-verse. Baseball teams wear road grays; college football and basketball teams are increasingly prone to having gray alternate unis in their wardrobes; NFL teams like to annoy The Jeff by wearing gray facemasks; the L.A. Kings’ new Stadium Series uniform has a lot of gray; and so on.
When I started working in the book publishing industry back in the late 1980s, I was taught that there were two ways to spell gray: the American way, with an “a,” or the British/Commonwealth way, with an “e” (which is easy to keep straight because “America” starts with an “a” and “England” starts with an “e”). Most American style guides call for “gray,” not “grey,” and that’s always what I’ve used.
Lately, though, “gray” has begun to bug me. I can’t fully explain why, but “gray” just doesn’t match the feel of the color as much as “grey” does. “Grey” feels, well, greyer, at least to me. When I see the “e”-inclusive version of the word, I instinctively get the feel of a cloudy day, a certain dreariness, and other things that I associate with the color. I’ve never fully gotten that feeling from the “gray” spelling, which for some reason feels a bit brighter and therefore less in keeping with the spirit of the word. (Continue reading)