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Raise or Rise?

The verbs raise and rise both refer to something going "up". The main difference between them is that raise is transitive (it must have a direct object) and rise is intransitive (no direct object).

  • Something raises something.
  • Something rises.

We also note that:

  • raise is regular: raise, raised, raised
  • rise is irregular: rise, rose, risen

Raise (regular, transitive)

If you raise something, it means that you elevate it - you move it up or lift it to a higher level.

  • The government plans to raise the age of retirement from 65 to 67.
  • If you have a question, please raise your hand.
  • Mary raises her voice when she's angry.
  • He raised his eyebrows, as if surprised.
  • They have raised their prices every year since they were founded.
  • The king's men were raising the drawbridge when it collapsed.
On this page we discuss the meanings of raise and rise that mainly cause confusion. Both of these verbs have additional meanings that we do not discuss here.

Rise (irregular, intransitive)

If something rises, it means that it elevates itself - it goes up itself. No external force is needed to lift it. But note that there is not always a physical movement; sometimes the meaning is just "to increase".

  • I like to rise at 6am, but my husband stays in bed until 8am.
  • If it doesn't stop raining, the river will rise and overflow.
  • Hot air rises.
  • John rose from his chair when Mary walked in.
  • Jane has risen in her company very quickly and is now CEO.
  • Prices are rising all the time.

To help you compare the meanings, here are some examples with raise and rise in the same sentence:

  • We raise the flag when the sun rises, and we lower it when the sun goes down.
  • Whenever our commanding officer comes in, we rise from our chairs and raise our hands in salute.
  • The helicopter rose into the air, raising the survivors out of the water.

Important! There is some confusion over the nouns rise and raise when talking about pay or salary. In British English a (pay) rise is an increase in pay. In American English the word is (pay) raise.
  • Did you get a 4% pay rise last year? (BrE)
  • My boss said he's giving me a pay raise next month. (AmE)

Raise or Rise Quiz >

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