Writing Tips: Raise or Rise Up!

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Gretchen Keefer.

Raise or rise up? While both of these verbs indicate upwards motion, the difference is in “what” is going up.

Rise, rose, risen: No objects go up. The subject of the sentence is the only thing moving towards the ceiling or sky. The action stays with the subject only.

Gary rose slowly from the recliner and left the room.

Heat rises.

The sun and moon rise daily.

Joe has risen through the ranks to make CFO at a young age.

Raise, raised, raised: Now, something is going up! “Raise” needs an object to lift or nurture, as in the case of children, crops, and animals. Ask the question “Raise what?” and fill in the blank.

  • Raise your hand.
  • Bettina raised her eyes toward the heavens and shouted in hallelujah!
  • Allison raises horses.
  • Mark’s construction crew raised the new building in record time. (Not to be confused with “raze,” which means taking the building down.)

Writing Tips: Will Everyone Please Sit/Set Down!

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Gretchen Keefer.

Which do you do?

Set, set, set: This verb is so busy placing objects in various locations, it has no time to alter its tenses.

“Set” wants something to do. There is always a “what” after “set” such as set the table, set your hair, set goals.

After setting her purse on the table, Joan read the mail.

Have you set a date with that cute guy yet?

Set down the knife and raise your hands.

Sit, sat, sat, not standing. Actually, not doing anything. There is no “what” after sit, just a rest from working. No motion, nothing is going anywhere or doing anything. There could be another verb in “-ing” form, and you may use adjectives to describe the length, location, or style of the sit, but no objects follow “sit.”

Gary did not sit long on Janice’s couch. He preferred sitting in the recliner. While sitting there, he fell asleep. Janice sat thinking about Gary. How often has he sat on her recliner sleeping? He never would set a wedding date. Obviously this relationship is going nowhere–

Writing Tips: Is There Dessert in the Desert?

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Gretchen Keefer.

Dessert is luscious, and often “sickeningly sweet” — hence the two “ss” in dessert.

The desert is too dry to support more than one “s.”

Shift the accent on desert – the place – and you have desert, the action.

The legionnaire de-SER-ted his post in the DES-ert.

People Always Lie

The following is used by permission, written by Writers in the Grove member, Paula Adams, and published in the Fullerton Observer.

To Jonathan:

I love your column in the Fullerton Observer, but I got a surprise bump in the first line of your mid-September column: “I look at the picture of the boy LAYING lifeless … ” What?!

I realize the lay/lie thing is a common error (except for foreigners who usually know more of our grammar than we do), but we expect the media to do better, which it usually does.

Anyway, you need a word with your proofreader: “Lay” in the present tense requires an object – unless you’re a laying hen. Thus, I lay the book aside, and in the words of that grammatically confusing prayer, ” … I lay me down to sleep.” Without the object, we lie down to sleep, Goldilocks is lying on the bed, cats lie napping in the sun, and we lie low when there’s trouble.

Of course, our beloved English language changes the rules in the past tense (sigh), but just remember:

When stretching out for a nap in the present tense, people lie.

PEOPLE ALWAYS LIE, (sigh again).

Paula Adams

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Dear Paula:

Great letter. I’m not lying to you! May we print it? I’ll lay you 8 to 5 that the editor will like it. Cheers!