Originally posted on Grammar Monkeys on Nov. 28, 2011.
We had a question about graduation and the correct way to express it: Should you use “from” or is it correct to leave that out?
The usage “was graduated from” — as in, “Herbert West was graduated from Miskatonic University” — is the original construction, but is now considered archaic (and a bit pretentious).
It’s also correct to use “graduate” by itself as an intransitive: “Though he studied at Harvard, Bill Gates did not graduate.”
But the form “she graduated college” is labeled in various usage guides as “poor wording” (Garner’s), “patently incorrect” (Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins), “wrong” (Woe Is I), “best avoided” (The New Fowler’s) and “Jethro-esque” (Lapsing Into a Comma). Use it at your peril.
And once a person has graduated, he is an alumnus, she is an alumna, either one is an alum, and both together are alumni — “alumni” is plural and should not be used to refer to one person. The diploma may not be in Latin anymore, but that term is.