Easily Confused Words: Raze vs. Raise

Raze and raise are easily confused words.

The spell-check application of most word processing software programs would not catch a slip-up of these two words. Spell-check is looking for words that aren’t in its dictionary, and words that resemble words in its dictionary but are possibly spelled wrong. Spell-check isn’t perfect. It doesn’t know and can’t guess what word you wanted or what word you meant, it can only judge the words on the page. If you used words that are all spelled correctly, it gives you a pass anyway.

Autocorrect suggests words that start with the same letters. It suggests what word you may want to save time, but quite often, its suggestions couldn’t be more off base and produces humorous results.

Raze is a verb. It means to cut or tear something down. When corn season has passed, typically the fields stalks are razed. When a business buys an old unused building, the raze it to build a new one that meets their needs.

Raise has multiple forms, revolving around increasing elevation or importance.

  • Raise the verb means to move up into the air. In the classroom, children raise their hands to ask questions or offer answers.
  • Raise the noun means an increase in pay that a worker receives from their employer.

The following story uses both words correctly:

Roselyn was hoping to get a raise this year, her rent was rising in a dilapidated building that someone missed being razed for 40 years. It was time for a move.

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