Word list: R

rationale, rational

Sometimes confused.

  • A rationale is the reason or set of reasons or explanation for something.
  • Rational is an adjective meaning “based on or in accordance with reason or logic”.

It’s similar to the distinction between morale and moral.


Hyphenate words beginning with re- only where re means again and only if the hyphen is necessary to make a distinction or to aid readability or pronunciation; otherwise do not hyphenate.


  • re-form to distinguish from reform
  • re-cover to distinguish from recover
  • re-enter for better readability than reenter
  • regroup
  • reiterate
  • retest



reinforce, re-enforce

You can reinforce your effort. You can reinforce your work colleagues. You can also reinforce concrete. You can’t re-enforce any of them. Reinforce means strengthen. It can be used in the physical sense and in the sense of encouraging or supporting people. It’s sometimes incorrectly written as re-enforce, which would mean “compel observance again”.

rein in

When you limit or control something you can be said to rein it in. Take care with the spelling. Sometimes people write “reign in” but that’s incorrect. You can’t reign unless you’re a sovereign head of state or something of the sort.

relay, re-lay

To relay means to pass something on: information or a baton, for example. If you’re talking about laying the foundations anew, make it re‑lay.


No hyphen.


Not restauranteur.


Another word for CV. Write it with both the accents.


No hyphen.

rite of passage

Not right of passage.


One word.