'Rain', 'rein' or 'reign'?

'Rain', 'rein' or 'reign'. Which one do you use when?

'Rain' - r a i n - is the easy one. The wet stuff that falls from the sky.

The tricky ones are 'rein' - r e i n - and 'reign' with that extra 'g' in it.

Here’s how to choose the right spelling every time.

'Rein' - r e i n refers to a strap you use when riding a horse. But it can also be used metaphorically, with a sense of having control. As in:

"Her deputy took the reins while she was on maternity leave."

"She gave me free rein to run the meeting as I saw fit."

In other words she put me in control of running the meeting as I saw fit


"I had to rein in my enthusiasm about the idea."

Meaning I had to control my enthusiasm.

'Reign' with that extra 'g' refers to ruling. For example:

"The reign of Henry VIII lasted for 56 years."


"Henry VIII reigned for 56 years."

The secret to remembering this 'reign' word is to associate that extra 'g' with other words for royalty - like 'regal' or even the 'g' at the end of 'king'.

I’m Dr Clare Lynch. Subscribe to the channel for more quick writing tips.