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Rain vs. Reign vs. Rein

The words Rain, Reign and Rein might sound the same, but have different meanings and different spellings. In this Grammar.com article, you will learn the differences between these three confusing words.

Some words exist in English language which have same sounds but different meanings. Rain, reign and rein also fall in this category. These three words have almost similar pronunciations but their meanings and usage is totally different. Here are few examples to make you understand the difference between these homophones.

Rain as noun:

When the moisture of our atmosphere is gathered up in the sky, it goes through the process of condensation (conversion of vapors to liquid) and fall as separate water droplets. These water drops are known as rain which is the showering of water from the sky on earth. Rain is a natural phenomenon that everyone is aware of and is a common noun.

The rain washed away all the dirt from plants and trees.

Rain is also used for describing a large quantity of things that are descending or that fall upon something. This rain has synonyms like shower, deluge, flood, torrent, spate, and avalanche, outpouring, rush or flurry. When there is a heavy fall of something, it is called rain.

A rain of arrows destroyed the whole army.

The descend of arrows here, is referred to as rain which destroyed the whole army.

Rain as verb:

The falling of water drops from the sky is rain as verb which describes the action taking place. It started raining. The rain when used as a verb, defines the act of water falling or a descend of anything. In other words, the meaning of rain is same as a noun and a verb, the difference lies is the usage only.

The volcano rained ashes on the city.

In this example, the pouring down of ashes or lava on the city from a volcanic mountains is describes as rain which is falling on the city.

Reign as verb:

Reign is the act of ruling a state or an area as a monarch or holding royal office. The monarch, king, queen or ruler reigns a place with people where he/she holds the highest power and respect.

Aerys Targaryen reigned over the King’s Landing in Game of Thrones.

Reign is also used to describe the best or most important thing in a particular area or domain. Baseball reigns the supreme in America. The dominant feature of a situation or place is also called reign.

Panic reigned over the city after a terrorist attack.

Here, reign is used for relating the prevalent characteristic ‘panic’ on the city as a result of terrorist attack.

Reign as noun:

Reign is used to describe the ruling period of a monarch. The reign of Henry VIII was 56 years. The predominant or preeminent time of something which was most important in that time period is also called its reign. When some quality, feature or characteristic is most influential in a particular time, that is its reign.

His reign as manager of the company was very successful.

Rein as noun:

A long, narrow strap attached at one end to a horse's bit, which is used in pairs to guide or check a horse while riding or driving is known as rein. The reins of a horse are used by riders to direct the horse and get firm support while riding.

He drew his rein and waited for his friends.

In this example, the person pulled reins of his horse in order to stop it and then waited for his friends to catch up.

In British, rein is used for the straps accustomed for restraining young children. The children wore leather baby reins. The power of direction and control is also referred to as rein.

The chair person’s rein will soon be over.

Rein as verb:

Rein has similar meaning when used as a noun or a verb. When a horse’s reins are pulled to check or guide, the action known as rein. Or when something or someone is kept under control or is restrained, the action is again called rein.

Sara reined her anger with a lot of effort.

Rain, reign or rein:

When water falls down from the sky, rain washes the earth, when a ruler dies, his reign is over and when a rider rides a horse, he straightens its reins. So next time you write something, make sure you know which of these homophones to use.

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