Raise, Rise, or Raze?

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Difference between "Raise," "Rise," and "Raze"?

"Raise" and "rise" are easy to confuse because they both relate to elevation. "Raise" and "raze" are easy to confuse because they sound identical.
  • "Raise" means to elevate (something upwards).
    • I will raise the flag. correct tick
    • (Note that you raise something. In this case, it is "the flag.")
  • "Rise" means to ascend.
    • The Sun will rise. correct tick
    • (With "rise," the thing (here, "the Sun") ascends itself.)
  • "Raze" means to destroy.
    • I will raze your puny empire to the ground! correct tick
    • ("To raze something to the ground" is a common phrase. It sounds odd for many because "raze" sounds like "raise," which means "to elevate.")
raise, rise, and raze

More about "Raise," "Rise," and "Raze"

"Raise" and "rise" are common words and your readers will expect you to use the right one. "Raze" is a less common word. It is misused because it sounds like it should relate to lifting something. However, it means precisely the opposite.

Raise and Rise

The verb "to raise" means to lift or elevate. "To rise" means to ascend from a lower position to a higher position.
He is raising the red ball.
With "raise," there is usually something lifting something else.

The blue ball is rising.
With "rise," the object ascends itself.

Remember that "raise" is not always about lifting; for example, you can raise a question and raise children.

Example sentences with "raise" and "rise":
  • The stagehands need to raise the platform so it is high enough for the whole audience to see the bands. correct tick
  • Wearing a sheer skirt will rise a few eyebrows. wrong cross
  • (This should be "raise.")
  • The sheer skirt made his eyebrows rise. correct tick
  • Running the marathon will help to raise funds. correct tick

  • correctly named book
  • It would be too expensive to rise the remnants of the Titanic. wrong cross
  • (This should be "to raise the remnants of Titanic.")

The Big Difference between Raise and Rise

"Raise" is transitive (i.e., you raise something). "Rise" is intransitive (i.e., it ascends itself).

A verb that acts on something (called its direct object) is known as a transitive verb. This is important because "raise" is a transitive verb, but "rise" is not. "Rise" is an intransitive verb (i.e., it does not act on anything). This is the big difference between "raise" and "rise."
  • It will rise your eyebrows. wrong cross
  • (The verb "to rise" is intransitive. It cannot have a direct object ("eyebrows"). This example is wrong. It should say "raise." Remember that "raise" takes a direct object, but "rise" doesn't.)
  • My eyebrows rose. correct tick
  • (Here, "rose" is not acting on anything.)
  • Watch the moon rise. correct tick
Read more about transitive and intransitive verbs.

Rose or Rised?

The past tense of "rise" is "rose." (There is no such word as "rised.")

Raze

"Raze" is a less common word. It means to demolish completely or to delete. (It can also be written "rase." This is not a UK convention. It is simply an alternative spelling.)
  • The arsonist razed the forest to the ground. correct tick
  • The plough will raze the ice from the road surface. correct tick
  • Councils are being forced to raze homes. correct tick

Remembering "Raise"

The letter "a" in raise can serve as a reminder that the verb "to raise" acts on something. (This means it has a direct object.)
  • I raised my eyebrows. correct tick
  • (In this example, it is acting on "my eyebrows." Therefore, the direct object is "my eyebrows.")
  • She raised a question. correct tick
  • (In this example, the direct object is "question.")

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See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? imply or infer? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose? Glossary of easily confused words Glossary of common errors Glossary of grammatical terms What are verbs? (See section on 'intransitive verbs'.)

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