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raise, rise and raze - the difference

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.

Examples:
  • 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

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)

Quick Test
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Top Tip

The Letter A in 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.)
Note

Transitive Verbs

Verbs that take a direct object are known as transitive verbs. This is important because to raise is a transitive verb, but to rise is not. It is intransitive. It does not act on anything. This is the most notable difference between raise and rise.
  • I rose my eyebrows.
  • (The verb to rise is intransitive. It cannot have a direct object. This example is wrong.)
  • My eyebrows rose.
  • (Here, rose is not acting on anything.)
  • Watch the moon rise.