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Raise vs. Rise

Way too often do we see folks misuse these two words. Here's a simple explanation of the difference between raise and rise—and when to use each.

Q: Do raise and rise mean the same thing, or is there a difference? —Anonymous

Raise vs. Rise

A: It's hard to believe, but the answer to both of the questions posed is yes. Both words technically mean the same thing (to move upwards), but there is a difference in how you should use each one.

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Rise is intransitive verb and does not take an object. What this means is that you use the verb rise when something moves upwards by itself.

The sun rises every morning.
I rise out of bed quickly when the smell of freshly cooked bacon is in the air.

In these examples, the subjects ("the sun" and "I") move upward on their own, without the physical help of an outside force (though the smell of bacon certainly helps in its own way).

Raise, on the other hand, is a transitive verb that requires that the subject act upon an object. In other words, something raises something else.

The Boy Scouts raised money to offset the cost of their next camping trip.
I raised my hand in the meeting to ask, "Why isn't there any bacon here?"

In the first sentence, the Boy scouts (subject) raised money (object). In the second, I (subject) raised my hand (object).

When constructing your sentence, just look to see if the subject rises on its own or if it's raising something else. This will help you determine which verb to use.

Grammar and Mechanics

No matter what type of writing you do, mastering the fundamentals of grammar and mechanics is an important first step to having a successful writing career.

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