To Rise and To Raise

Now that you have conquered the lie/lay challenge, I’m sure you’re all ready for a new one. And that’s what I am about to give you here: the challenge of rise/raise.

Actually, in some ways, I think you’ll agree that this post can make the last one easier to understand. The reason I chose to do lie/lay first is that it is a much more commonly used error and, as such, it bugs me more than rise/raise.

In difficult grammatical terms, to raise is a transitive verb and, as such, takes an object. It means to lift or to put higher. You raise something,

In simple terms, that means that this verb will commonly be described and followed by nouns or pronouns — words like the book, my hand, the new flag, or  an issue.

Examples include:

Audrey is going to raise the new flag today.

She is raising the flag in the back yard right now.

Yesterday Audrey quickly raised the flag in the front yard.

She has raised flags all week.

In difficult grammatical terms, to rise is an intransitive verb and, as such, does not take an object.  It means to assume a position, generally a vertical one.  You simply rise or rise up.  Likewise, the smoke simply rises in the air. You simply rise up from your bed in the morning.

In simple terms, that means that you cannot follow this verb immediately in a sentence with a noun or pronoun — words like those above that describe what or who (whom.)

That is because, with to rise, what follows the verb applies to the subject of the sentence.  As such, it can only be followed by words that describe wherewhenwhy and how the object behaves.

Examples include:

Audrey rises from her chair when she finishes dinner.

In fact, she was rising when I came into the room.

Yesterday the sun rose two minutes later than today.

It has risen later every day this week.

Please feel free to fill in the missing verbs in the sentences below.  I will be happy to correct them for you.

Or ask me to clarify my explanations. Perhaps I have missed something.

1.     Earlier this morning the fog __________ slowly and then disappeared with the heat of the sun.

2.     The young girl _________ her hand very quickly in class this morning.

3.     At this moment at the council meeting, the councillor _______________ the possibility of a tax increase.

4.     He ______________ the same issue at every council meeting this year.

5.     He said, ” I would like you to ___________ your hand for your vote in favour of my suggestions.”

6.     The sun has just  __________ in the sky.

7.     It was just starting to_______________ when I woke up.

Good luck.  Now it’s time for you to show off how well you understand this set of verbs.

To Lie and To Lay

Well, folks, this is a toughy for most people, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you awhile to understand it.  But do not give up!  With practice you will get it right.

In difficult grammatical terms, to lay is a transitive verb and, as such, takes an object. It means to place or to set. You lay something, (or crudely someone.)

In simple terms, that means that this verb will commonly be described and followed by nouns or pronouns — words like the book, my head, the new carpet, or  crudely, his girlfriend or her.

Examples include:

Audrey is going to lay the new carpet today.

She is laying the carpet in the living room right now.

Yesterday Audrey quickly laid the carpet in the den.

She has laid carpet all week.

In difficult grammatical terms, to lie is an intransitive verb and, as such, does not take an object.  It means to assume a position, generally a horizontal one.  You simply lie or lie down.  Likewise, the carpet simply lies on the floor. Your head simply lies on the pillow all night.

In simple terms, that means that you cannot follow it immediately in a sentence with a noun or pronoun — words like those above that describe what or who (whom.)

That is because, with to lie, what follows the verb applies to the subject of the sentence.  As such, it can only be followed by words that describe where, when, why and how the object behaves.

Examples include:

Audrey is going to lie down on her bed when she finishes dinner.

She was lying down for a long time before dinner too.

Yesterday Audrey lay down all afternoon.

She has lain down exhausted for several hours every day this week.

Please feel free to fill in the missing verbs in the sentences below.  I will be happy to correct them for you.

Or ask me to clarify my explanations. Perhaps I have missed something.

1.     The snow __________ softly under the trees last night.

2.     The young girl _________ her dolly in her bed last night.

3.     He _______________ the document in front of me right now.

4.     The master told his dog to _____________ down.

5.     He said, “____________ down.”

6.     The dog __________ in the same position for several hours.

7.     Before then he _______________ outside on the porch for a long time.

Good luck, and maybe you would like to send best wishes to Audrey for all her hard work with the carpeting.

There is; there are; there was; there were.

Yes, we hear these words often.  In grocery stores, on buses, and on radio and television.  We hear them everywhere. We also read them in newspaper columns, magazines, blogs, or in advertising fliers.

They are very useful introductions to what we want to point out in our stories or in our observations of the world around us. And we understand them perfectly and are able to use them ourselves. And that is a good thing.

But, do we use them correctly? Well, that is a good question, and the problem is that many of us don’t.

Does the incorrect use interfere with comprehension?  No, not usually.  Does it annoy the listener or reader? Maybe. Maybe not. In fact this error is so common that I wonder if one day there will be no distinction between the correct and the incorrect form.  Maybe one day we will all be saying, “There’s many people who speak that way.” Maybe one day not one of us will feel the slightest twinge and want to correct the speaker.

Perhaps.  But I will not give in without a fight because I find it grating to my ear.  And it is so very easy to use the correct form.

Let’s see if I can help you.

The verb “to be” has a singular and a plural form in both the present and the past tense.  When we use “There” plus a form of the verb “to be” we simply have to think ahead to what follows.  Is it a singular noun or a plural noun? If it is singular, we use “is” or “was.” If it is plural, we must use “are” or “were.” Simple, right?

A level of difficulty seems to arise when people use the contraction, “there’s” to replace “there is.” For some reason, they then feel that “there’s” functions for both a singular and a plural noun.  Not so. The “s” is used for the third person verb form, not for plural nouns.

“There are simple rules.” There is (There’s)  no reason not to apply them in our speaking and writing.

“There is a simple rule.” There are no reasons not to apply it in our speaking and writing.