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Language Arts

Raise vs Rise



"Raise" and "rise" each are several parts of speech and have many meanings, so for the sake of this article, let’s just focus on the two main points of confusion, one of which has to do with the nouns"raise" and "rise," and one of which has to do with the verbs "raise" and "rise."


Raise and Rise as Nouns

In the United States, if you are an employee and your boss has boosted your salary by a great amount, you would say,

Wow! I’ve just received a fantastic raise.

However, if the same fortunate occurrence happened to you and you were in the United Kingdom, you would likely say,

Brilliant! I’ve just received a bit of a rise,

Not only is the Brit a lad more circumspect and the American more exuberant - to follow the stereotype, but they have used different nouns for the same exact meaning. This is not the main source of confusion, nor likely to occur often, but you will now be prepared if it happens.

Raise and Rise as Verbs

Raise and rise are a pair of verbs similar to lie and lay and sit and set, in that one of each pair is transitive and one is intransitive. Let’s examine raise and rise individually and then put them in the context of the other pairs to try to gain a broader understanding.

Raise is a transitive verb that means acting upon something or to lift or increase something. Rise is an intransitive verb that means ascending, getting up, increasing, or extending. In other words, they are pretty close counterparts, the underlying difference being between acting on something external or reflexive action.

Raise is a regular verb with the past tense raised and past participle raised. Rise is an irregular verb with the past tense rose, and the past participle risen. Here are example sentences in which you can see the principal parts at work:

The keeper raises the drawbridge after the king and his servants pass across.

The keeper raised the drawbridge after the king and his servants passes across.

The keeper has raised the drawbridge following the crossing of the king and his servants.

Will the drawbridge rise again after lowering for the king and his servants?

All I can tell you is that the drawbridge rose after the king and his servants crossed.

The drawbridge has risen, and access to the castle is effectively barred.

Raise come from the Middle English forms reisen, raisen from Old Norse reisa, while rise comes through Middle English from the Old English form risan. Raise is pronounced /RAYZ/, while rise is pronounced /RIZE/.

Here are example sentences in which you can contrast their meanings:

The monarch raised the kneeling knight to his feet.

The knight rose to his feet and was drawn into the monarch’s embrace.

The chambermaid raised the blinds on the front window to reveal a beautiful sunrise.

The sun rose in the Eastern sky creating a picturesque landscape.

The clarinetist used her embouchure to raise her pitch slightly when the conductor indicated that she was a touch flat.

The pitch rose, and the conductor nodded to the clarinetist with satisfaction.

Distinguishing Raise and Rise

Take a look at these comparisons featuring the verb pairs raise and rise, set and sit, and lay and lie.

Transitive Verb and Meaning

Intransitive Verb and Meaning

set: to place

sit: to place oneself

lay: to cause something to recline

lie: to recline oneself

raise: to lift something

rise: to lift oneself

Here’s a mnemonic to link them all together. In the intransitive verbs, the second letter is i, so connect the i at the beginning of intransitive in your mind with the i as the second character in each of the intransitive verbs.