"Graduated school", "graduated from school", or "was graduated from school"?

Apropos of this thread on the usage of “graduated from school” vs. “graduated school” vs. “was graduated from school”, I thought I’d post this poll to see which constructions are in active use among Dopers.

Basically, the question is, how would you normally phrase a statement expressing the fact that someone has successfully completed the entire course of studies at a school?

This isn’t a question about which construction is the “correct” one in English (though feel free to argue about this in the comments; as a descriptivist I’ll just sit on the sidelines and laugh). I’m interested in knowing which form you prefer to use yourself.

He is/was a graduate of ____________ school.

I graduated from school many years ago.

That would be the way I’d normally say it.

I was taught to say “He was graduated from school” but I say “He graduated from school” because people think the former sounds funny. The high school I was graduated from insists on the use of “was graduated from”. The school graduates you. You don’t do it yourself. We are also supposed to refer to the school as “alma mater”, not “my alma mater”. I may say, for example, “He was graduated from alma mater in 1983”.

The school graduates you. “Graduate” means move from one level to another, and it is the school that grants this mobility to you.

But in everyday colloquial speech nearly everybody says the student graduates, because we think of the student as earning it.

From a descriptionist point of view, either is correct, but the first sounds snooty.

I say “graduated school” or “graduated from school”. Never “was graduated”.

Usually with a specific school or the generic “school”, I say “graduated from school [or name of school]” but in the specific instance of the level of school, it’s “graduated high school” or “graduated college”.

I think there’s a useful analogy here with ‘marry’. Which sounds more correct, “Alice married Bob at the courthouse” or “Alice and Bob were married by a Justice of the Peace”? It may have been the Justice who pronounced them husband and wife, but it wouldn’t have happened without Alice and Bob taking steps to make it.

In all honesty, I wouldn’t say any of these things as a stand-alone statement because they all sound kind of odd. I** would ** say something like “He graduated from [high/middle] school in 1995,” so that’s the format I chose. I definitely wouldn’t say someone graduated school or was graduated from school, though.

Curiously, I would say “He graduated high school” but I’d say “He graduated from Harvard”


“Graduating school” sounds like the student did something to the school, and IMO is objectively wrong. To me, all the others make some kind of sense and are OK, though I don’t use most of them.

I would never say “he graduated high school.” I would say “He graduated from high school” but technically in America, school graduates you.

Anything goes pretty much, unless you say “_ graduated from University”, which is what all them Canadians kept doing on For Better or For Worse. :smack:

I realize the logic behind “was graduated from” but I’ve never heard a person say that.

Originally, the word meant “to admit to a university degree”, and it was something the university did. It was transitive; the university graduated the student; the student was graduated by (or in, or from) the university.

Later, initially in the US but I think the term has now spread elsewhere, it acquired the meaning of “successfully to complete a course of study”, and it applies to courses of study that don’t lead to a degree, which is why it can be used in relation to high school. In this sense it’s intransitive; the student doesn’t graduate a degree or a course or an institution; he graduates as a B.A. or from a course or from or in an institution.

This is a particular pet peeve of mine. (Don’t know why, it’s not like there aren’t many other things much worse, but there you go.) I am delighted that the poll shows an overwhelming preference for “graduated from school,” because that’s the correct form! All the rest are wrong, wrong, wrong!

Ai haz spokin.