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.
    • (Note that you raise something. In this case, it is "the flag.")
  • "Rise" means to ascend.
    • The Sun will rise.
    • (With "rise," the thing (here, "the Sun") ascends itself.)
  • "Raze" means to destroy.
    • I will raze your puny empire to the ground!
    • ("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.
  • Wearing a sheer skirt will rise a few eyebrows.
  • (This should be "raise.")
  • The sheer skirt made his eyebrows rise.
  • Running the marathon will help to raise funds.

  • correctly named book
  • It would be too expensive to rise the remnants of the Titanic.
  • (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.
  • (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.
  • (Here, "rose" is not acting on anything.)
  • Watch the moon rise.
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" 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.
  • The plough will raze the ice from the road surface.
  • Councils are being forced to raze homes.

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.
  • (In this example, it is acting on "my eyebrows." Therefore, the direct object is "my eyebrows.")
  • She raised a question.
  • (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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