Sunday, July 13, 2008

37. You GRADUATED What?

Welcome back, Everyone! Today's topic always seems to rear its head every year around the time of graduation-and Wow! Do we have all kinds of graduations nowadays--not only from high schools and colleges, but from kindergartens, primary schools, middle schools, and junior highs. I've even heard of graduations from day care centers...and, of course, graduations occur at all times of the year nowadays. Guess we like to start out early struttin' our stuff.

All right. If we're probably going to hear this word used more and more, we should give a good look at the awkwardness of using it the way our ancestors used it back in the nineteenth century. Back then, the common way to use this word was as follows:

Even though Homer couldn't blow his nose if his brains were dynamite, he graduated eighth grade yesterday. (not as preferred today...graduated from...)

...or...

The Class of 2009 will graduate Whiteville High School as soon as they finish and pass their last courses next spring. (not as preferred today...graduate from...)

...or...

I graduated Southeastern Community College five years ago with a nursing degree. (not as preferred today...graduated from...)

More than a century ago, the commonly accepted use of this verb was, indeed, NOT TO USE from in front of a form of graduate. Today, however, the preferred way is TO USE from before a form of graduate.

Filling out a resume for a job that included a sentence such as...

I graduated UNC in 2002...

is considered awkward and archaic in today's world, so don't be misled when you hear the occasional use of this verb. You are correct to say...

Jack graduated FROM NC State two years before his sister did.

This lesson's so easy you should have absolutely NO trouble remembering it! Also, we see here the constantly changing nature of our language and how rules that were once cast in stone are no longer in force. Just check your Webster's and you'll see how many uses that once were forbidden are now making headway into our speech and writing. Don't forget, though, that some words seen in the dictionary are NOT generally accepted in Standard English or polite society.

I'm signing off for this time. Hope your day is great! Happiness and peace to all. GG

3 comments:

Doug Burrell said...

Wow, this is pretty neat! I always gave you the credit for making grammar makes sense to me. You were my 12th grade English teacher in 1991 and, somehow, you managed to look past all of my goofy journal entries and teach me the value of using good grammar. Ever since then, folks think I'm way smarter than I actually am. Thanks!

Doug Burrell

Grammar Guide said...

Hey, Doug! So good to hear from you! Thanks for writing and proving that you ARE a very smart young man!
And thanks for the very kind words. Come to see us sometime. Mrs. C

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