You could raise the roof, or you could raze the roof. Just know there’s a big difference between the two.
Word pairs that sound the same (homophones) aren’t often antonyms, but “Raise” vs. “Raze” is one of those rare pairings where correct spelling is essential. Imagine a city planner walking into a meeting of community members with a proposal to raise a building between two historic properties. Now, imagine that same planner wanting to raze a building. Both are logical uses of these words, but the reaction of the crowd might differ dramatically.
Here’s the difference:
- “Raze” means to demolish or erase.
- “Raise,” in this circumstance, means to build or to heighten.
Of course, “raise” can also mean to lift up, to bring to maturity, to incite, to awaken, and multiple other definitions in both its verb and noun forms; however it’s the “raise” vs. “raze” confusion that is worth the second glance.
If you’re talking about construction, be sure you’re fully understanding the conversation in the room. And if you’re the one writing up that community proposal, make sure your spelling is accurate. The reaction of your audience depends on it.
As for “raising” or “razing” the roof, I don’t know what this quite means on the dance floor, but remind me not to stand near you if you’re doing the latter.
Happy writing, folks.
Join 650+ subscribers and sign-up for my writing and editing email newsletter for more tips like this.