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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    alumnus, alumna

    Do you call a friend who went to the same school together with you "alumnus"?
    I learned the 4 forms of
    alumnus(male singular) - alumni(male plural)
    alumna(female singular) - alumnae(female plural)
    But do you use these a lot? When you happen to meet such person on the street and want to introduce him or her to your spouse or whoever, do you just say "We went to the same school" or "He(she) is my alumnus(alumna)"?

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    #2

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    This could be one of those things that varies quite a lot, both regionally and person to person, so I can only speak for myself.

    Actually, I probably wouldn't use any of the (correct) terms you mentioned. I'd be most likely to call them an 'alum'. "He's an alum." "She's an alum." I might also use the example you gave- "We went to the same school." or "We were in school together." (if we were at the same school at the same time).

    Of the four words you mentioned, alumni is used far more than any of the others- even in reference to a single person, male or female.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    I would NEVER say "He's my alumnus." That sounds like he graduated from YOU.

    I would say and have said "She's a fellow alum." I would say and have said "We're both alumni of RPI." I would say and have said "We're both graduates of RPI" or "We both graduated from RPI."

    The only time I've ever used alumnae was in reference to my sororitiy, which was all female. I suppose if you went to an all-female college, it may be more common.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #4

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    [nat]

    I've only heard 3 forms of this.

    alum: shortened version of alumus
    alumus: singular
    alumni: plural

    I would never say "She is my alumna." I would say "She is an alum of the school." or "She is an alumnus of the school."

    I don't believe "alumna" is used at all, since English does not support noun genders.

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    #5

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    Latin supports genders. I would expect a well-educated person to know that "she" is an "alumna."

    Of course, nowadays, I wouldn't be surprised to hear a college-educated person say "I'm an alumni."

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    #6

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    Most scientists say octopuses, not octopi, while most academics say syllabi, not syllabuses; yet, all four are commonly used. Not sure what my point is though (Just that Latin's/Greek's use of an s on singular nouns is confusing!)

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    In Br Eng, 'alumn...' with all the trimmings (-us,-i, -a, -ae) is used chiefly (only?) for old students/graduates; you're a student, then you graduate, then you become an alumnus/-a. We'd never say of someone 'S/he's an alumnus/-a of mine', but we would say 'We met at a reception for alumni of <institution>'.

    b

  4. keannu's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I would NEVER say "He's my alumnus." That sounds like he graduated from YOU.

    I would say and have said "She's a fellow alum." I would say and have said "We're both alumni of RPI." I would say and have said "We're both graduates of RPI" or "We both graduated from RPI."

    The only time I've ever used alumnae was in reference to my sororitiy, which was all female. I suppose if you went to an all-female college, it may be more common.
    English noun genders were affected by Latin, and even in modern Italian, we can find such remainings like ragazzo(boy)-ragazzi(boys)-ragazza(girl)-raggaze(girls).
    In Korea, we usually say "S(he) is my elementary/middle/high school alum" designating school level, do you also say like that specifying school level, too? Can you combine "elementary/middle/high school" with "alum" or do you have similar expressons or don't you have such fixed expressions?
    Last edited by keannu; 10-Jan-2012 at 15:35.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    Just to clarify, in Br Eng I've never met 'alum' (except in a chemistry class).

    b

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    #10

    Re: alumnus, alumna

    "Alum" is only used for college/university, not for lower levels.

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