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Thanks Mr. K for the clarifying that! I also hear it's a English (UK) usage as well, because I recall my Shakespeare professor (who was reared in England but have dual citizenship) telling us that a human is reared, not raised.


A colleague and I are debating which word (raise/rear) to use in a story for fourth graders. I am twenty years older than my colleague. She was raised in West Virginia, but I was reared in Mississippi. She believes raise is the better word because this is the one most people use. I, on the otherhand, was taught that you raise animals and rear children. I have to agree, however, that it does sound a bit stuffy. Yet, I believe in elevating language and feel it offers the perfect opportunity to model the correct word choice.

In searching the internet for an answer, I happened on your site. The posting about being chided for using the word raise hit home. When you said your Canadian dictionary says it is American, I really became confused. Yes, I think most Americans today use it instead of rear, but I always thought the use of the words raise/rear here in America was opposite of the way it is used in England. Which word is the better choice for our story?

Crawford Kilian

Is your story set in the present? If so, I'd use "raise." If it's set in the past (early 20th century or earlier), I'd use "rear."

Jennifer Simmons

My mother was an English teacher in the U.S. This was a pet peeve. We were taught that children are reared and animals are raised. We learned this in grammar school in the southern US. I think that raised has become so common now that it is accepted as correct. But i will not use it that way.

Mary Anne Postma

Great post! Thank you.
It has become more and more uncommon that children are being "reared" rather than being "raised."


One must understand that a dictionary is not a list of properly used words, it is a list of commonly used words. In any language. Therefore not a persons guide of proper language.


Certainly, one's command and use of language is something to be admired, praised, and emulated. The English language is a living language prone to change and growth and , alas, demise in proper usage. "Reared" was also ingrained in me when referring to humans. I still shudder when I hear of humans being raised. I am judgmental and just think how common, lazy or uneďucated the individual must be who uses "raise" in reference to humans.

Gary Bisaga

Maybe I'm common, lazy or uneďucated, but I was "raised" in the suburbs of Washington, DC, managed to make it through a master's degree, and I think am considered knowledgeable about language matters. (I was once called the "resident geek scholar" for my language skills and interests.) However, until I read a book by Miss Manners that said "animals are raised, children are reared," I had never heard the "reared" usage. Pro-rearers are, I'm afraid, fighting a losing battle.

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