A check on bad grammar: Rein vs. reign

Our writing would read much better if only we would curb the misuse of rein vs. reign!

Rein refers to the strap used to control a horse, and so from that, if someone wishes to restrain something (and that usually will require an effort on your part), it would be reined in, or if you wish to loosen your hold, you might give it free rein. To wit: Laura realized she had to rein in her expenses or soon would be broke.

Reign refers to the rule of a king or dictator over a country: Hitler’s reign lasted 12 years.

Hopefully the era of misusing of these two words has now come to an end!


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.