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  1. #1
    Deepurple is offline Member
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    Alumnae vs Alumni

    Alumna (sing.) - Alumnae (pl.): for women students
    Alumnus (sing.) - Alumni (pl.): for men students.

    What is the term which covers both genders?

    Thank you for helping.

  2. #2
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    I suspect it's alumni. I've only met a rule in this area in French - where a group of a dozen women and one man are les rather than elles.

    But I'd avoid the problem by saying 'past students' or 'graduates' or 'old boys/girls' - as appropriate.

    b

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    I have never seen "alumna" used in the UK. It seems to be a primarily American word.

    For the plural keep to "alumni". Everyone knows what it means.

  4. #4
    Deepurple is offline Member
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    I have never seen "alumna" used in the UK. It seems to be a primarily American word.

    For the plural keep to "alumni". Everyone knows what it means.
    My curiosity drove me to ask such a question when I came across the following definitions but unable to find the term for an old boy.

    Longman Dict
    Alumna
    plural alumnae /
    [countable] formal
    a woman who is a former student of a school, college, etc.

    Alumnus
    plural alumni /
    [countable] formal
    a former student of a school, college etc.
    alumni noun

  5. #5
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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    Alumnus (pl. alumni) is the term that is used generally for all former pupils or students - any gender and mixed.
    As the previous answers have indicated alumna/ae is rarely seen in the UK, except for some old girls' associations where they want to show they know the difference., but it perfectly correct to use it here for female only groups.

  6. #6
    Deepurple is offline Member
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    Quote Originally Posted by apex2000 View Post
    Alumnus (pl. alumni) is the term that is used generally for all former pupils or students - any gender and mixed.
    As the previous answers have indicated alumna/ae is rarely seen in the UK, except for some old girls' associations where they want to show they know the difference., but it perfectly correct to use it here for female only groups.
    Thank you to all.

  7. #7
    Deepurple is offline Member
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    While flipping "How to use the right words" of "Reader's Digest" in a public library, I found that the author defines old girls as alumna(pl. alumnae) while old boys as alumnus(pl.alumni). Maybe American teachers could comment on that.

  8. #8
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    apex2000 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: Alumnae vs Alumni

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepurple View Post
    While flipping "How to use the right words" of "Reader's Digest" in a public library, I found that the author defines old girls as alumna(pl. alumnae) while old boys as alumnus(pl.alumni). Maybe American teachers could comment on that.
    Readers Digest is an American publication with a British arm. Much of what you can read in that magazine has strong US bias. The US has a habit of being pedantic about separating many things and this is probably one of them.

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