Relive vs Relieve? How Are They Different? When to Use Each?

relive vs relieve

No one wants to find themselves asking which word they should use when writing in the English language. However, this is a situation we all often have to face, thanks to the similarities of various English words. So, you might just be wondering, relive or relieve, are they different? When to use each?

“Relive” is a verb that conveys to live or go through an experience once again. In contrast, “relieve” is also a verb; however, it is different and gives multiple meanings. It can mean to discharge someone of their duties, to reduce someone’s pain, or to attend to the call of nature figuratively. 

While it is clear that they are different, you still have so much to learn about when to use each in a sentence. Well, we have got you covered. In this article, we will take a deep dive into it. This way, using both words correctly comes naturally and easily to you!

When to and How to Use the Word “Relive” in a Sentence

Relive in the dictionary

We will first take a deep dive into using the word “relive” in a sentence. However, like you must have realized by now, to achieve things remains hinged on a few things. Core among them is that you must understand the nature of the word and its meaning in a sentence. 

So, what does the word “relive” means, and what function does it perform in a sentence when used? 

The word “relive” is a verb. Like you already know, a verb is an action word. That is, it functions to depict action in a sentence. For instance, where you say, “the man slapped the thief who tried to rob him.” In this sentence, the word “slapped” is the verb, and it shows that the man acts like moving his hands against another man.

Well, that is also the nature of the word “relive.” It conveys that someone is doing something. Now, you are wondering what meaning the world gives. Precisely, what act is one said to perform when we use the word “relive.” Well, that is why we are here.

When you use the word “relive,” the meaning you convey is that someone is living memory or experience again. This meaning comes from the combination of the words that make up “relive” – “re” and “live.” It means to live through an experience once again. 

Generally, you can rewrite the word as “re-live.” However, regardless of how it is written, it conveys the same meaning. With relive, you experience a life occurrence from the past once again. Keep in mind that these occurrences can either be unpleasant or pleasant. 

So, when you use the word “relive,” you must mean it to convey that someone experiences a circumstance, unpleasant or pleasant, in life once again. Now, here are some examples that should help you grasp the use of the word in a sentence. 

  1. You can always relive your high school life once you have made enough money to live a comfortable life and take care of all your needs.
  2. With the speed at which science is developing, we will be able to relive our past through medical means in little or no time.
  3. I had a wonderful dream last night; it was so beautiful that I wish I could relive it.

However, there is one thing you must keep in mind. The word “relive” is different from the word “recall.” In the case of “recall,” all you do is remember an event that happened in the past. On the other hand, when it comes to “relive,” it does not just remember it; it is going through the moments as if it was happening all over again. 

When to And How to Use the Word “Relieve” in a Sentence

Next up, we will dive into when and how to use the word “relieve” in a sentence. Like we have always done, we would have you understand the meaning and nature of the word. This is because it is important to know this if you truly want to understand when to and how to use the word in a sentence.

relieved in the dictionary

So, what does the word “relieve” means, and what function does it perform in a sentence?

The word “relieve” is a verb just like the word “relive.” This is perhaps another reason for the confusion when using both words. It is an action word that conveys that someone is doing something. We already explained the meaning and usage of a verb above, and it is relevant here. A verb conveys that an action is being performed in a sentence.

So, in the word “relieve,” what action is conveyed as getting performed? 

When you use the word “relieve” in a sentence, you can convey a wide range of meanings. Well, you should not be surprised as loads of English words have more than one meaning. But do not worry; we will introduce you to all the meanings the word can convey. This way, you can easily use the word. 

First, the word can mean to free somebody of their obligation or duty. This is usually by discharging or replacing them when they are no longer needed. So, you can use the word “relieve” when you want to convey that someone is getting freed of their obligation. Now, here are some illustrative examples that detail the use of this word. 

  1. We will relieve the guard of his duties today; he does not seem to have any regard for his job whatsoever.
  2. It is a shame that we will have to relieve him of his duty today; he has impeccably discharged his obligations in the last five years.
  3. I think it is the responsibility of airport staff to relieve their guests from carrying their baggage by ensuring escort services.

You can also use the word “relieve” to convey that one is attending to nature’s request or call. We know that you get what it means to do this. Just in case, it means to discharge fluid or waste product from the body. So, you can use the word “relieve” when you want to convey this meaning in a sentence. Here are some examples of the use of the word. 

  1. I think every pet owner should spend considerable time training their pets not to relieve themselves anytime they are in public places.
  2. My kids learned from a very young age that it is inappropriate for them to relieve themselves while in a public area.
  3. You will realize that after a very long journey, everybody has an urge to relieve themselves; this is why I am surprised that it is not the case with me.

Again, the word “relieve” can be used to convey the act of making one’s pain less severe. It is usually used to describe the act where someone acts to ensure that someone in pain experiences less pain. You can also use the word “relieve” if you intend to convey this meaning in a sentence. Here are examples that should help put this usage into a clearer perspective. 

  1. If you want to relieve your pain, then I should not have to tell you that you need to take your pills regularly and without missing any.
  2. There is no doubt that you might experience some pains in your thighs and joints after every intense workout, and you will need rest to relieve that pain.
  3. I think the goal of modern medicine is to relieve the pain of humankind, and I think it is a noble cause

Now that we have cleared up, there is one thing we must address, and that is the confusion of the word “relieve” with the word “relief.” We are sure you have already seen similarities in the meaning of both words. Well, you are not mistaken.

However, what you need to keep in mind is that the word “relief” is a noun, unlike the word “relieve,” a verb. So, you cannot necessarily use them interchangeably in a sentence. Clear right?

woman with look of relief and peace

Understanding the Difference Between Both Words

So far, we have cleared up the difference between using both words by explaining their meaning. This way, you can have an easy route to using both words correctly. Now, while we have been explicit, the task remains remembering which of the words attract a particular use and definition. 

We get that this might be tricky, so we have got a trick for you that you can use. Now, you will recall that one has a single definition while the other has multiple definitions. So, here is all you need to keep in mind.

If you want to use the word with one definition, go for the word with fewer letters, which will be “relive.” On the other hand, to use the word with multiple definitions, go for the one with more letters, which will be “relieve.”

Final Thoughts 

The English language has its share of words that will leave you wondering when to use certain words. One of such cases is with the use of the word “relive” and “relieve.” Well, you do not have to worry about this anymore. In this article, we have discussed the details. So, go on and read up!

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.

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