Don’t Raise a Ruckus about Rise and Raise

Here’s a little grammar lesson. Some verbs are transitive. This means they take a direct object. Writers often run into confusion, for example, with lay and lie. Lay takes an object (I lay the book on the table), so it’s a transitive verb. But lie (as in lie down, or telling a fib) is an intransitive verb. It does not take a object. You lie down. You don’t “lie” something down.

Okay, got it?

Now, think about the words raise and rise. The basic distinction is that raise is transitive.

  • I raise my hand when I want to be called on.
  • He raised the flag when they blew the trumpet.

Easy, right? Got that transitive thing down now? Good. So what about rise? Rise is an intransitive verb, and now you know what that means.

  • I rise in the morning at six.
  • The farmer has risen every day before the chickens.
  • She rose when the president entered the room.

A horse doesn’t raise up on its front legs; it rises up.

And although one used to be said to have been “born and reared” somewhere, it’s now more common to say “born and raised.” Although, I’ve heard people referred to as being “born and bred.” Not sure if I want to go there . . .

So, since raised has pretty much replaced reared, it’s not wrong to say “my mother raised me to be a nice girl” or “I try to raise my kids right.” Just don’t try to get a rise out of me by raising a ruckus about rise and raise.

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  1. Nicely put.

    One way to remember them is to imagine that the thing that’s causing the movement is myself, and that tells me what the first vowel should be: I can rAise *a* thing up that’s separate from me, but *I* rIse on my own. (Come to think of it, this works for lAy and lIe too!)

    1. The “lay” and “lie” thing drives me bonkers, especially when I see it used wrongly on a major news website. I can be quite calm and understanding about other errors, but for some reason that one makes me go a little white about the mouth. 😉

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