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Misusing "Alumni" and Related Words

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If you've been linked to this, you probably made a language mistake and whoever sent this to you cared enough to point it out. The best thing to do is read the details and see where you went wrong.


"Alumni" is the plural of the Latin word "alumnus", literally meaning "student; fosterling", but commonly used as "graduate". "Alumni" is often used as a singular noun, especially on motor vehicle license plate covers. (Most likely there is only one graduate driving.)

Adding to this confusion is the fact that there is also a feminine form, "alumna", which should be used for a single female graduate, and the plural "alumnae", for multiple female graduates. (Mixed-gender groups use the plural "alumni".)

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