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I know the difference between the verbs to raise and to rise, but is there any difference between their corresponding nouns raise and rise?

For example, are the two sentences

There was a gradual raise in the employment rate as the economy began to recover.

There was a gradual rise in the employment rate as the economy began to recover.

both correct and do they have the same meaning?

The sentence is from an exercise where given a sentence and a word you have to complete another sentence so that it has similar meaning. The original sentence is:

The employment rate rose gradually as the economy began to recover.

The word to use is gradual and the sentence to complete is:

There ........... the employment rate as the economy began to recover.

So technically the solution with rise is the correct solution, but I was wondering if using raise changes the meaning.

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    The nouns raise and rise are used for salaries in AmE and BrE, respectively. However, that first sample sentence is wrong in both Englishes. – Lambie Jun 10 at 16:59
  • @Lambie Are the abbreviations AmE and BrE understandable in ELL? I know we use them in english.SE all the time, but I would think that we might want to spell them out in ELL. – shoover Jun 11 at 17:53
  • @shoover Never had any complaints. – Lambie Jun 11 at 18:44
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A "rise" is an increase in number, size, amount, or degree.

A "raise" is an act of increasing something.

Rises can happen naturally, or incrementally, such as a rise in temperature or a rise in unemployment. Raises are deliberate increases, such as raising someone's salary or raising an imposed limit.

If you look at the dictionary definition for raise as a noun you will see the definitions are all deliberate things:

  • an increase in salary
  • an increased stake in poker
  • the action of lifting a weight over one's head

In your example of unemployment rates, "rise" would be the correct noun. The rates of unemployment have not been deliberately raised - the rise has just been observed.

It should be added that "rise" is sometimes used to describe an increase in pay, which as an intentional act by an employer does seem to be something of an exception to what I've just said. This ngram shows that "pay raise" is used at least twice as much as "pay rise", still it is idiomatic. Still, as verbs the distinction is very clear and the link between usage of the verbs and the nouns is undeniable.

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    Indeed, historically, raise is a causitive of rise. – Colin Fine Jun 10 at 13:37
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    Without the BrE/AmE discussion, this answer is not complete. – Lambie Jun 10 at 16:58
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    In AuE I think we use pay rise more than pay raise. Also, the ngrams for payrise vs payraise (ie one word) show slightly higher for the former, but they're both so close to zero it doesn't matter. – mcalex Jun 11 at 3:39
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    What part of the UK are you from that you think "pay raise" is more common that "pay rise"? I'm genuinely curious. Or are you a non-brit who just happens to be in the UK at the moment? – J... Jun 11 at 11:20
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    @flater That's a good point, but in your example there is direct cause and effect - the fire raised the temperature in the room. I accept that there could be causes attributable to rises in unemployment rates, but speaking as both a native English speaker AND a data analyst, it would be highly unusual to say that a calculated rate had 'raised'. Remember we're talking about these words as nouns, so it must be highly specific. Unless you can point to the action or cause that caused the rise, you can't really say "a raise". – Astralbee Jun 11 at 13:41
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Personally, I think OP's first example is non-standard (particularly for Brits), because we usually use rise rather than raise as the noun form in such contexts (and here's the proof of that, in an NGram chart). Offhand the only really common noun use I can think of for a raise is when it means a wage increase (that's in American English only - British English favours rise for that sense).

The other big difference is that as a verb, raise is usually transitive (you raise something, meaning you make it higher)1, whereas rise is usually intransitive (so we can just say The tide is rising - it's going up itself; it doesn't necessarily lift anything else).


For OP's final example text, we can include either term. For example,...

1: There was a rise in the employment rate as the economy began to recover.
2: There was a raised employment rate as the economy began to recover.

...where #1 reflects my initial assertion (prefer rise for the noun sense), and the somewhat less natural (but still syntactically valid) #2 is a "passive" Past Participle of the transitive verb, used adjectivally (some unspecified agent raised the rate).


1 As pointed out by @Colin Fine above, and at greater length by dictionary.com,...

Raise is the causative of rise; to raise something is to cause it to rise.
Raise is almost always used transitively.

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  • + 1 This is the correct answer. AmE a raise (salary); BrE a rise (salary). Beyond that, both say rise for other matters. A rise in the unemployment rate.The first sentence from the OP is wrong is both Englishes! – Lambie Jun 10 at 16:30
  • @Lambie: The full OED includes raise noun definition 3a Chiefly U.S. An increase in amount; an increase in the price, rate, value, etc., of something. With citations such as a gigantic raise in freight rates, a raise in prices, a raise in interest rate,... Even in the US, rise is more likely in such contexts, but we can't really claim that raise is "wrong" when it's not (implicitly or explicitly) linked to wages. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jun 10 at 17:21
  • In the US, newspapers et alia simply do not say: a raise in price. We say, like you, a price rise, a rise in prices. For wages, in the US, we say raise, yes. In the UK, a rise. Of course, I am repeating myself here. I go by usage, and not by the OED here. a raise in the unemployment rate in AmE is non standard. – Lambie Jun 10 at 17:36
  • Transitive properties +1 for verbs. – livresque Jun 11 at 4:43
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    @J...Perhaps you mean abstruse. – Lambie Jun 11 at 18:45
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Raise requires an agent. Rise does not (unless you're a magician or god).

What this means is that someone or something has to raise X, but X can rise by itself.

Also often there is the implication that X is being held by something or someone, if it is being raised. With rise, the implication could be that it might be on a surface that is also moving up.

There was a gradual RAISE in the employment rate as the economy began to recover.

Someone or something made it raise. However since we can't identify that someone or something--the sentence is in the agentless passive voice--rise should be preferred.

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  • 1
    So when I cook bread, it rises on it's own, and not because of the yeast? – mcalex Jun 11 at 3:38
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    The bread rises; the yeast is a raising agent. – Will Crawford Jun 11 at 10:13
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    @mcalex At that point the yeast is part of the bread. Also, if you're going to be a pedant learn the difference between a contraction and a possessive. – Bloke Down The Pub Jun 11 at 14:51
  • Best answer on the page because it explains the difference in that raise as a verb requires an object. – user91988 Jun 11 at 15:27
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Raise is US English for "increase in wages or salary" like in

The boss gave me a raise.

Rise is the noun derived from the verb to rise with all of the corresponding meanings, plus the UK English analog of the US raise.

Exercise is usually accompanied by a temporary rise in blood pressure.

Anyway, irrespective of which variety of English your exercise is aimed at, it is rise which is needed there.

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