Beeker from the Netherlands asks:
What exactly is the difference between to hire and to
rent? I know American English uses to rent whereas British
English uses to hire, but I thought there might also be a
difference between what you can hire and what you can rent. 'Hire
a help' but surely not 'rent a help'?? 'Rent a car', but not 'hire
from Hong Kong asks:
I want to know the difference between ‘rise’ and ‘raise’.
Mishra from India writes:
When I return from my place of work on a automotive two-wheeler
(like a scooter or a motorbike), do I drive back or ride
meaning is the same: to rent or hire something, you
pay money in order to be allowed to use it for a limited amount
of time. It is simply a matter of usage. With some nouns you can
use one or the other – it doesn’t matter which as both are freely
used. You can: rent or hire cars, bikes, electronic
'We rented a TV and video as we intended to stay in
England for only six months.'
'If you’re planning to go to Cambridge for the day, hire
a bike when you arrive. It’s the best way to get round the town.'
With other nouns it is customary in British English to use one and
not the other. We would: rent a flat, caravan, cottage, house:
'I rented a cottage by the sea for the summer.'
'He rented me his flat in London while he was on holiday
(However, note the difference in use, depending on whether it is
used as a verb or a noun: ‘flats to rent’, but ‘bikes for
hire some help (i.e people), tools, equipment:
'I had too much to do on the farm, so I decided to hire
some help three mornings a week.'
'The police enquiries were making no progress, so we decided
to hire a private detective.'
'I was painting the outside of the house and had to hire
a tall ladder to get to the top.'
verbs which are similar in meaning: to move to a higher position.
The essential difference is that raise is a transitive verb
which needs an object to complete its meaning and rise is
intransitive, it functions without an object and is sometimes followed
by a phrase of time or place. Compare the following:
'The sun rises in the East and sets in the West.'
'I rise (i.e. get up) at six o’ clock every weekday
morning in order to be at work by seven.'
'He rose (i.e. stood up) to greet her.'
'I raised my hand because I wanted to raise a question,
but he took no notice of me.'
'If you are raising a family as a single parent, you
shouldn’t try to work full-time.'
'My child was ill and I had to raise money to pay for
with four or more wheels (like a car, a bus, a lorry or a train)
we drive; anything with two wheels or that we straddle (like
a horse, a bike, motorbike or scooter) we ride, (even though
you need a driving licence to ride a motorbike. In a recent court
case, a judge in Britain has ruled that riders of go-peds – those
tiny scooters which have a very small engine at the back – will
also need to have a driving licence to ride them on the roads.)
Consider the following:
'I had never driven such a powerful car before.'
'I hadn’t ridden a bike for over twenty years and wondered
if I would remember how to.'
Note that when we are passengers rather than drivers, we ride
in cars and trains, but we tend to ride on buses.