Alumnae vs Alumni

Status
Not open for further replies.

Deepurple

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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.
 

BobK

Harmless drudge
Staff member
Joined
Jul 29, 2006
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
UK
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
 

Anglika

No Longer With Us
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Member Type
Other
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.
 

Deepurple

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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
 

apex2000

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Wales
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.
 

Deepurple

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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.
 

Deepurple

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2007
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
Hong Kong
Current Location
Hong Kong
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.:?:
 

apex2000

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2005
Member Type
Other
Native Language
English
Home Country
UK
Current Location
Wales
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.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top