Raise vs. Rise
A recent headline in my morning paper declares:
Local Unemployment Rate Raises to 4.8 percent
Both as verbs and as nouns, raise and rise are used in many contexts, sometimes overlapping, but in the context of this newspaper headline, the verb should be rise.
In standard usage, raise is transitive (takes an object) and rise is intransitive (no object). I suppose I’d better add, “usually,” to avoid the inevitable, “well, what about such and such?”
To use raise to describe rates, someone or something must act as agent:
The Fed decided to raise interest rates.
The closing of three factories raised local unemployment rates.
The headline requires intransitive rise: Local Unemployment Rate Rises to 4.8 percent.
Both verbs occur in numerous idioms. Here are a few. Most require no explanation.
Idioms with “to raise”:
raise from the dead
raise a ruckus (make a disturbance)
raise blood pressure
raise cattle (breed cattle) raise children (bring up children) People commonly talk about “raising children” or “raising a family.” When I was in school, my English teachers corrected this usage, saying, “You raise chickens, but you rear children.” As far as I can ascertain, no such distinction exists.
raise game (cause game animals to show themselves)
raise a response (in the context of getting an answer from someone on a two-way radio)
raise a mob (stir up people to riot)
raise an army (gather an army)
raise a barn (construct a barn) In pioneer times in the U.S., “barn raisings” were social events at which the men helped the host build a barn while the women prepared a feast.
raise one’s spirits
raise a blister (new shoes may raise a blister on one’s heel)
raise one’s voice
raise a laugh (cause amusement)
rise to the occasion (prove oneself capable)
Note: Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead: transitive verb with agent and direct object. Jesus rose from the dead: intransitive verb rise because the subject is the doer and there is no object.)
Idioms with “to rise”:
rise early (wake and get out of bed)
rise from the dead
rise and shine (wake up and get busy)
rise in the world (improve one’s social and financial position)
All rise! (Spoken by a bailiff as a judge enters the courtroom or prepares to leave)
rise against (rebel)
rise above adversity
rise in someone’s opinion
When wind rises, it increases in intensity.
Rivers rise at their sources.
Fish rise to the surface of a lake.
Buildings rise as they are being built.
People who become angry when being deliberately taunted are said “to rise to the bait.”
And finally, something perceived as disgusting may “make one’s gorge rise.” For example, “The smell of onions made her gorge rise.” In this expression, gorge refers to stomach contents. I suppose that’s what the TV commercials mean by “acid reflux.”
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