raise, rise and raze - the difference

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
Raise means to elevate (something upwards).
Rise means to ascend.
Raze means to destroy.

Raise, Rise, and Raze

The words raise, rise, and raze sound similar, and they are often confused — particularly raise and rise as their meanings are similar.

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. The past tense of rise is rose. (There is no such word as rised.)
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, raise is not always about lifting — you can raise a question and raise children.

  • 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.
  • (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.
  • (should be to raise the remnants of Titanic)


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 forced to raze homes.
  • (i.e., destroy them)

Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

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'.)