The Difference Between Raise and Rise: Grammar Guide

Updated on February 20, 2018

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 | Source

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 own 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

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

This is one of the best books on grammar available. If you are a grammarian, you should definitely think about reading it.


Questions & Answers

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      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 4 years ago from San Francisco

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

      • iguidenetwork profile image

        iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

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

      • profile image

        Michelle Widmann 4 years ago

        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!

      • misslong123 profile image

        Michele Kelsey 4 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

        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

      • RobinBull profile image

        Robin Bull 4 years ago from Moore, Oklahoma

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

      • profile image

        George 4 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Grace 5 years ago


      • profile image

        Guest 5 years ago

        Such a clear difinition, thank you

      • profile image

        Jara 6 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        ray 6 years ago

        thank you

      • profile image

        KOMAL 6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Terry 6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        tammy d. 6 years ago

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

      • profile image

        tammy d. 6 years ago

        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...

      • profile image

        Harish 6 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Heba 7 years ago

        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 profile image

        C-Bless 7 years ago from Canada

        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...

      • K9keystrokes profile image

        India Arnold 7 years ago from Northern, California

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


      • profile image

        Joshua 7 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Diego 7 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Shark455 7 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Stephen E. Baker 7 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Zach 8 years ago

        Just use "increase" and forget about it!

      • profile image

        UOLA 8 years ago

        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!

      • profile image

        CL 8 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Uesli 8 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        kuperlen 8 years ago

        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 profile image

        dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

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

      • profile image

        Jim 9 years ago

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

        Thanks Robin.

      • profile image

        Jim 9 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Ilona from the Czech Rep. 9 years ago

        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.

      • profile image

        Nghi 9 years ago

        Full and clear, thank you so much !

      • profile image

        Sandor 10 years ago

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

      • profile image

        Sandor 10 years ago

        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"

      • profile image

        Mary 10 years ago

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


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

      • profile image

        NCDAA 10 years ago

        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!!

      • profile image

        hemant nain 11 years ago

        hi robin,

        can you elaborate the difference given by kethy.

        however your demarcation between the two is good.

        be in touch...

      • Robin profile image

        Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

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

      • profile image

        Kathy 11 years ago

        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 profile image

        Robin Edmondson 11 years ago from San Francisco

        Thanks for the comment, Jimmy. ;)

      • jimmythejock profile image

        James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland

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


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