Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Alumna and alumnus

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Degree ceremony at the University of Oxford. T...
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You will sometimes see and hear these words (meaning university or college graduates) used wrongly.

Alumna — this is one female graduate from a university/school/college etc.

Alumnus — this is one male graduate.

Alumnae — these are female graduates.

Alumni — these are, strictly speaking, male graduates, but can be used to refer to graduates of either sex.

The words derive from Latin meaning ‘nursling’ or ‘pupil’.

More commonly confused words


Written by Wordwatch

11/12/2009 at 6:09 pm

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