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

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Written by Wordwatch

11/12/2009 at 6:09 pm

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