May 1, 2014

Weekly Language Usage Tips: graduate or graduate from

Posted in graduated college or from college, Uncategorized at 6:09 am by dlseltzer

Tip: Graduated or graduated from

A reader writes:

Is it correct say I graduated college in May, or must one say I graduated from college in May?

While ‘I graduated college’ is commonly heard, it is, in fact, incorrect. You don’t graduate college; it’s just the opposite—college graduates you! And, as a result, you graduate from college.

Let me explain. Once upon a time, colleges graduated students as in:

The University of Pittsburgh’s Institute for Clinical Research Education graduated 24 students with Master in Clinical Research degrees.


Three Doctor of Philosophy degrees were conferred on the students who were graduated from Harvard University.

But as I said, that was once upon a time, and although that wording would still be considered correct, that’s not the way it works these days. Over time, the way ‘graduate’ is used has changed, and, now, we graduate FROM places.

She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with honors.

As we’ve said so many times, language evolves (okay, I know, I’ve said it so many times), but, still, it’s true, language does evolve. And ‘graduate’ is still changing. The preposition ‘from’ is disappearing. Not yet, but soon I expect,

The student graduated high school, and is going to Pitt—his brother graduated Pitt last year.

That’s going to be okay soon. Not yet, but soon.

For now, stick with ‘graduating from’ a school.

The professor graduated from medical school more than two decades ago.

Otherwise, you risk some people thinking that you are making a grammar blunder, and you are. At least for a little while.



  1. Kelsey said,

    I just saw this and my eyes bugged out, and I thought of your blog immediately.

    Biters are 6.2 times as likely to be male than female
    Biters are 2.6 times as likely to be intact than neutered
    Biters are 2.8 times as likely to be chained as unchained

    How? How does this happen?

  2. Irene said,

    Which is grammatically correct, I am a graduate from or I am a graduate at Normal University

    • dlseltzer said,

      Actally, neither is correct. It should be: i am a graduate of xxx

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