By Sarah-Ann Binning

It’s raining. It’s pouring. The old man is snoring.

Looks like spring is arriving a tad late. The 10-day forecast on weather.com offers rain, scattered showers, thunderstorms and cloudy skies. Sun does not appear on the agenda for the next week.

Instead of becoming an Eeyore over all this gray weather we’re having, I decided now is the perfect time to use my “rainy day” blog idea.

Did you happen to notice how I spelled gray? Gray as opposed to grey.

What’s the difference? They’re spelled different, so they MUST mean different things, right?

Wrong. Although these two words have a slight vowel differentiation, they are pronounced and mean exactly the same thing: a neutral hue, a color between white and black.

The variations in these words developed in the divide between U.S. English and UK English. If you live in a region that generally speaks UK English, you’ll typically spell grey with the ‘e.’ But if you use the U.S. dialect, you’ll spell the gloomy color with an ‘a.’

However, time impacts how we use our language. We seem to be on better terms with Britain since the American Revolution. My research shows that it is generally acceptable to use either spelling in everyday use.

However, I must also remember that my AP Stylebook is my Bible. According to my 2007 Stylebook, use the U.S. form gray, never grey, in journalistic writing, unless grey is part of a proper noun. (Editor’s Note: I obviously have an outdated Stylebook. I’m waiting for the 2010 book to come out before I buy another one. If you have a later edition and find this statement to be incorrect, please correct me.)

In popular culture, there are multiple examples of both forms being used. Here are a few who choose to utilize “gray.”

In 1949, Crayola added 40 new colors to their collection. Among them was “gray.” In 1958 Crayola would invent and then later retire “blue gray.” The American based company never selected the –ey spelling of this neutral color.

Buckeye fans, I mustn’t forget you either. What are the Ohio State University’s team colors? Scarlet and gray.

And do not forget my favorite Civil War historical novel, “Shades of Gray” by Carolyn Reeder. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Tippin, made us read this book in school. I have never forgotten its story. I’ll spare you the sentimental flashback. Rather, allow me to introduce some references where we use “grey.”

BarlowGirl, a Christian Rock band of three sisters, names their first track on their Album Another Journal Entry “Grey.

“Grey’s my favorite color/ black and white has never been my thing.”

Why BarlowGirl selected the –ey ending is not 100 percent clear. They were born in Illinois, which is nowhere near the UK.

While you’re listening to BarlowGirl’s Grey” maybe you’d like some tea to drink? Will you drink Earl Grey? When I think tea, I immediately think of Britain. That’s how I choose to remember that the beverage is spelled grey.  It is also important to note this tea was named for Earl Charles Grey.

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