Alumnus, Alumna, Alumni

LORELAI: So, alumna is a girl graduate … And alumnus is a man … And plural is alumni.

RORY: Right, and that can be girls and guys.

A quick run-down on the correct usage of the Latin word alumnus – all terms used more commonly in the US than in other countries.

An alumnus is a man who has graduated from a particular institution, such as “a Harvard alumnus”, while a woman in the same position is an alumna. The plural is alumni, which can be either a group of male graduates, or a group of both males and females. The plural of only female graduates is alumnae. There is also alum – which is a gender neutral term that doesn’t get used as much, but may become more common in the future.

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