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The Difference Between Raise and Rise: Grammar Guide

As dawn approached and the sky grew light, we raised our heads to watch the sun rise over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge

Sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge

Raise vs. Rise

Both raise and rise can mean to move upwards, but the words are not interchangeable. Raise is a transitive verb, and rise is an intransitive verb.

Transitive verbs, such as raise, require an object. The word raise requires an object to cause the motion--e.g."The girl raised her arm to answer the question." Arm is the direct object of the verb raise.

Intransitive verbs, such as rise, do not require an object. Rise does not require an object to do the motion--e.g, "The sun rises every morning," "She rose from her nap around 2 o'clock." The sun is rising on its own, as did the napping girl.

  • Raise is a regular verb: raise, raised, raised
  • Rise is an irregular verb: rise, rose, risen

Common Uses of Raise

  1. To elevate: She raised the bar in the competition.
  2. To lift something: Please raise your hand.
  3. To set upright by building: They raised the statue in her honor.
  4. To bring to maturity: She raised him all by herself.
  5. To increase: He raised his bet by five dollars.

Common Uses of Rise

  1. To move into an upright position from lying, kneeling, or sitting: Please rise for the Lord's Prayer.
  2. To move upward without assistance: He likes to rise with the sun.
  3. To return from death: Michael Jackson rose from the dead in his video "Thriller".

Raise/Rise and Lay/Lie

There are similarities between raise/rise and lay/lie. Raise and lay are transitive verbs: Both require an object to complete the action. You raise something up and lay something down.


  • She raised her arms in disgust.
  • She laid the pillow on top of the bed.

Rise and lie are intransitive verbs: The action is done to oneself. You rise yourself (or the subject of the sentence) up and lie yourself (or the subject of the sentence) down.


  • They will rise up against their oppressors.
  • All she wanted was to lie down on the sofa for 15 minutes.

The Definitive Guide to Grammar: Strunk and White

Thoughts, Comments, Questions?

Phil on October 10, 2019:

Intransitive verbs, such as rise, do not require an object. Rise does not require an object to do the motion--e.g, "The sun rises every morning," "She rose from her nap around 2 o'clock." The sun is rising on its own, as did the napping girl.

Are the Sun and the girl not objects?

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on October 10, 2013:

Understanding the difference between lie and lay is difficult. Check out my Hub on it; hopefully that will help! ;)

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on October 08, 2013:

It's in the "lie" and "lay" that I'm still confused about especially in the tenses. Thanks for explaining.

Michelle Widmann on July 24, 2013:

As a writer, I have always been so embarrassed to admit that I don't know the difference between "lay" and "lie". Thank you for clearing that up! Great hub!

Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on July 23, 2013:

Many people took Grammar lessons in school for granted. They make so many mistakes, and as you know, they need help with their writing. I liked how you focused on the confusing words that writers run across. For the Grammar HubPage I am working on, may I add your page as a link for my readers? Michele

Robin Bull from Moore, Oklahoma on July 23, 2013:

Thank you for this. I will share it with my students.

George on July 06, 2013:

I found when spell check in word came up with rear end or rear-end. What is the difference?

Grace on January 31, 2013:


Guest on July 18, 2012:

Such a clear difinition, thank you

Jara on October 07, 2011:

An A2 student of EFL asked me yesterday right this question. After babbling for a few seconds, I said I'd look it up. Super useful! Thanks for sharing.

ray on October 05, 2011:

thank you

KOMAL on September 06, 2011:

I m confused. what is the correct sentence? He is sitting on ur place or he is sitting at ur place. Please help.

Terry on August 31, 2011:

Great topic. There's a free grammar checker that helps with this kind of thing:

tammy d. on July 06, 2011:

sorry, correction, bought is not reflexive in that example. oops.

tammy d. on July 06, 2011:

Heba, 'I will sit down' is correct. 'I will sit myself down' should never be written, only said informally. You are the only one who can sit yourself down. you cannot be the subject and the object at the same time (at least, i don't think you can!). Sit is intransitive. You cannot sit anything down. Set is transitive. You set something down. Something cannot set itself down. So, the book is sitting on the counter, but I set the book on the counter. No object in the first (intransitive), object in the second (transitive).

I rise. I sit. I lie. No one can do these actions for us or to us, and we can't do them to parts of our bodies, otherwise we use raise (I raise my hand), set (I set my hand on the wheel), lay (I lay my hand on her shoulder). Sit is not a reflexive verb (I washed myself. I bought myself a book. etc). I hope that helps.

I for one am still trying to figure out why Americans say pay raise and everyone else says pay rise. It has been explained to me that transitive verbs are never turned into nouns, only intransitive verbs. This makes sense as a rule, but to me there is a difference between a rise and a a raise. still looking for a more thorough explanation...

Harish on June 28, 2011:

Very nice. Next I search on a grammar mishap, I know which one to click on first.

This is one of the best pages I have seen to date that has explained a topic so well.

Heba on June 06, 2011:

What about sit and set? I undertsnad that the same applies to those two verbs, with set you need an object, "I will set those book on the counter". And "The books have been sitting on the counter for two days now". But What about, "I will sit myself down"? In this sentence we have an object (myself) yet we use sit not set. Any idea why?

C-Bless from Canada on May 16, 2011:

Gosh, what a hub! Thank you -- I've had issues with lie/lay for years. Now, it's clear to me. Thank you very much for sharing...

India Arnold from Northern, California on April 18, 2011:

This hub is awesome Robin! I hope you don't mind, but I am linking in. Bookmarked!


Joshua on January 07, 2011:

thank you so much for your information, I think it`s very important how to use correct verbs? such as raise and rise

Diego on December 01, 2010:

Thanks, your information is very complete!!!!!

Shark455 on October 05, 2010:

That's absolutely clear thank you I guess I don't have any kind of problem anymore:)

Stephen E. Baker on June 26, 2010:

In the case of a pay raise/rise raise or rise is a noun not a verb so this article doesn't apply. As I understand it both are correct and there are regional variations on usage.

In the sentence, "I'm going to raise your pay," however there is only one correct form.

Zach on April 15, 2010:

Just use "increase" and forget about it!

UOLA on January 04, 2010:

i am from Jordan,Middle East, and you have no idea how much you helped with my final exam!!!

(yes we take English a main material)

thank you very much!

CL on November 05, 2009:

Very good that someone raised this question. Or was the question ifact risen?

Uesli on October 26, 2009:

The world raise means to lift or elevate. Rise means to move from a lower position to a higher position. Raise is not always used about lifting. for example... You can raise question and you can raise children..

He is raising the red ball.

The blue ball is rising.

kuperlen on September 03, 2009:

Thanks for your post!

Transitive vs Intransitive is a really confusing subject for non-native speakers like myself, and your page nicely clarifies that.

dohn121 from Hudson Valley, New York on July 13, 2009:

I really could have used this information in high school (he said, when the opportunity rose)!

Jim on June 21, 2009:

I came to that conclusion based on what Robin explained above.

Thanks Robin.

Jim on June 21, 2009:

Here's how I see the "pay" raise/rise conundrum.

Your employer gives you a raise. Because the employer is the one doing it.

You as the employee receive a pay rise.

Because you are not the one actually making the change.

However well deserved it is. The decision and action is ultimately from the employer.

Ilona from the Czech Rep. on May 05, 2009:

Hello, I'm teaching English in the Czech Rep. and I'm desperately looking for help, I don't know who to turn to. I've found your comments on the rise vs raise problem. They're quite clear to me. Still, as a non native speaker I kindly ask for confirmation on which of the following is correct. I believe the second one. Thank you so much. Ilona

1) Their pay has been risen.

2) Their pay has been raised.

Nghi on October 05, 2008:

Full and clear, thank you so much !

Sandor on March 11, 2008:

Sorry... typo there... I mean to say: There's no object causing the "rise" in the context of "pay rise"

Sandor on March 11, 2008:

Great article. As to the comment about the difference in a "pay rise" between the US and UK... well, there shouldn't be any. We simply use it, incorrectly.

As Robin explains here, "raise" would require an object to excute the motion. There's no object "doing causing a raise" in the context of "pay rise"... "his/her pay simply rises". I added some examples below. I hope it helps.

Correct: "I got a pay rise", "My pay rises yearly" "My pay rose in the last two years", "My pay had risen before the economy took a downturn"

Incorrect: "I got a pay raise", "My pay raised in the last two years"

Correct: "My company is raising my pay this year", "My pay was raised today", "My pay would've been raised, had I performed well"

Mary on September 17, 2007:

we write: "she raises her hand" ok...


"her hand had raised" or "her hand had risen"?

NCDAA on July 25, 2007:

I am confused. Which is the correct sentence? I am doing a brochure, and need the correct sentence structure."This workshop will offer a practical guide to raising well-balanced children."  OR"This workshop will offer a practical guide to raise weil-balanced children.Thank you very much. I am  on DEADLINE AND WOULD APPRECIATE A REPLY ASAP!!

hemant nain on May 17, 2007:

hi robin,

can you elaborate the difference given by kethy.

however your demarcation between the two is good.

be in touch...

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on November 28, 2006:

Interesting, Kathy. I didn't know that there was a difference. Thanks for the comment!

Kathy on November 28, 2006:

Great article! Adding to the confusion, for the noun meaning "an increase in pay", it's raise in US English, and rise in UK English.

Robin Edmondson (author) from San Francisco on November 28, 2006:

Thanks for the comment, Jimmy. ;)

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on November 28, 2006:

when i saw the heading raise v rise i thought to myself there is no difference now i know there is thankyou robin...jimmy