Rise vs Raise: What’s the Difference?

Rise vs raise can create confusion for many English writers, but this guide will help set the record straight. 

The English language has many confusing parts, and the difference between rise vs raise is definitely one of them. This combination of verbs can confuse everyone, from the ESL student to the writer who has written in American English since high school.

Though a native English speaker is more likely to get these right by default, they are still a tricky combination.

Thankfully, there are some tricks that you can use to tell the difference between these two confusing words. The next time you are trying to decide if you will use raise or rise, consider these tips. 

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The Meaning of Raise vs Rise

Rise vs Raise

Both raise and rise are words that can mean an upward motion. However, like other confusing words like set and sit, they are not interchangeable. they have distinct uses because one is a transitive verb and one is an intransitive verb.

The Meaning of Raise

Rise Vs Raise
Raise can refer to both elevation or increases

“Raise” means to move something to a higher position or higher level. This can refer to both elevation or increases. Raising a price or raising an item higher are both examples of this verb used correctly. 

Raise as a Transitive Verb

“Raise” is always a transitive verb. A transitive verb requires an object, which is a noun or noun phrase that receives the action of the sentence. For example:

  • The dog raised his head when his owner approached.

In this sentence the dog is raising an object, his head, making “raise” a transitive verb. 

Raise as a Regular Verb

Not only is “raise” a transitive verb, but it is also a regular verb. The past tense conjugations are:

  • Raise (present tense)
  • Raised (past participle)
  • Raised (perfect participle)

Meaning of Rise

Meaning of rise
“Rise” is an intransitive verb, which means it does not require an object

“Rise” refers to increasing something or moving it upwards. The sun rises and hot air rises, making these proper uses of the verb. People can also rise from positions of rest, such as sleeping, kneeling, laying down or sitting.

Rise as an Intransitive Verb

“Rise” is an intransitive verb, which means it does not require an object. For instance:

  • When you rise in the morning, please eat breakfast before starting your day.

Even though the sentence has words after “rise,” the phrase “in the morning” is a prepositional phrase, not a direct object, making this an intransitive verb.

Rise as an Irregular Verb

Unlike “raise,” “rise” is an irregular verb. Its past tense conjugations are:

  • Rise (present tense)
  • Rose (past participle)
  • Risen (perfect participle) 

How to Remember the Difference Between Raise and Rise

The best way to remember the difference between “raise” and “rise” is to consider some common uses of each word. If you are a native speaker or American or British English, you probably learned these correctly as a child just through everyday talk. 

For “raise,” some common uses include:

  • To elevate something: The teacher raised the bar with his high expectations.
  • To bring something to maturity: Parents raise children according to their personal values.
  • To lift: Children, raise your hands if you are excited about the field trip. 
  • To increase: He raised the price of the popular service.
  • To build or set upright: The construction crew raised the building from the ground up.

For “rise,” consider these uses:

  • To get up: Please rise when the bride enters.
  • To return to life: Many religions teach that the dead will rise again.

Rise Vs Raise and American vs British English

One exception to this application of “rise” and “raise” is in British vs American English. Sometimes the verbs switch between the two types of English. 

For example, when talking about salary, someone in Britain will refer to a “pay rise.” However, in America, an increase in salary is a “pay raise.” Both are correct but are simply a difference between one culture and another. 

Arise vs. Raise vs Rise

“Arise” is another irregular verb that can add to this confusion. This word means to get up or to come to attention. Like “rise,” it is an intransitive verb with no object.

Writers often use “arise” when the sentence includes some uncertainty or abstractness. for example:

  • If the question arose, he had a solid answer for it.

In this sentence, the question may not happen, so there is uncertainty. However, if the question was certain, you would use “raise,” as in:

  • I raised the question about the validity of the source.

The Final Word on Rise vs Raise 

When deciding between rise vs raise in the English language, a key is to consider whether you are going to have an object in your sentence. If it has an object, use “raise.” If it does not, use “rise.” It does not matter if the sentence includes prepositions after the verb, as long as there is no direct object the correct choice is rise.

When you can keep tricky words like “rise” and “raise” clear in your mind, you become a better writer. Take the time to learn these differences to improve your writing skill. If you liked this post, you might be interested in our aggravate vs. exacerbate explainer.

FAQs on Rise vs Raise

What is the difference between rise and raise?

Rise means to get up or to increase, and it is an intransitive verb that does not have an object. Raise means to elevate or increase something to a higher level or position, and it is a transitive verb that requires an object.

When do I use rise vs raise?

Use “rise” in sentences with no direct object, even if the sentence has prepositional phrases or adverbs after the verb. If there is an object of the action, use “raise.”

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  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.