Rio OlympicsOlympic rings logoCompetition Winner!

the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

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).

We also note that:

raise (regular, transitive)

raise, raised, raised, raising

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

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)

rise, rose, risen, rising

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".

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)