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Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with a passion. Learn More

“graduated high school” or “graduated from high school”?

Is it really proper to say “I graduated high school,” or should it not be, “I graduated from high school?” Previously, I thought only rednecks were able to “graduate high school.”

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In proper English, it should be "graduate from."

delores.sheppard Feb-11-2011

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Actually, the school graduates you, so it should be "I was graduated from high school."

parker.sheppard Feb-14-2011

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To graduate is successfully complete an academic course—in this case, high school. In formal English, it is "graduated from high school".

Claudia1 Feb-19-2011

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Re: "February 10th, 2011 by Alyson Draper
Is it really proper to say “I graduated high school,” or should it not be, “I graduated from high school?” Previously, I thought only rednecks were able to “graduate high school.”

Actually, I do not believe a true redneck would have reason to use either expression!

shaunc Feb-21-2011

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"I was graduated from high school/college" is the proper grammar. This was taught years ago and was an attempt to correct students from saying "I graduated from high school/college". Unfortunately, this "correction" morphed into "I graduated high school/college" which is even worse than what was originally being corrected!!!

Jane1 May-15-2011

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I think "I graduated high school" is now so widely used as to have become correct idiomatic American English. It may depart from the usual grammatical rules, but English is full of idioms that do that.

Nigel1 Jun-17-2011

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"I graduated high school" simply sounds too stupid to be accepted as tolerable idomatic American English. "To graduate" means "to be granted an academic degree or diploma." To say: "I was granted a diploma high school" would be moronic.

I'll not accept, without a fight, dumbing down the language that badly.

Paul3 Aug-19-2011

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Bob, your opinion is invalid based solely on the name you chose to represent yourself.

Cameron1 Dec-01-2011

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Publish 1950 graduating class from Davenport High School

Bob Bowman Mar-10-2012

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1 [no object] successfully complete an academic degree, course of training, or (North American) high school: he graduated from Glasgow University in 1990

AnWulf Mar-14-2012

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what about "an"high school education rather than "a" high school education.
Like an horrific dream ...

wes May-23-2012

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As an update on this topic, at today's NBC News site I found these two headlines on the front page: "As their children graduate college...." and "Teen who lost mom in tornado graduates from high school". So today's copy editors randomly use one or the other (I've seen the same thing in newspapers). I would use the "from" version myself, but as time passes and I see more and more that omitted I fear the idiom is becoming ingrained. Can full acceptance be far behind?

providencejim May-26-2013

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@wes - that only makes sense if you don't pronounce the H - do you really say 'orrific? And I'm sure you don't say 'igh school, unless you're a Cockney.

To give a British perspective, for us it's exactly as AnWulf has said - always "from", and the student always graduates from the school/university, never vice-versa. The idea of the school/university graduating the student seems only to exist in North American English.

Warsaw Will May-26-2013

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For what it's worth, it's nice to see that Grammar Girl agrees with those of us who see "from" as essential for good English: (" If you go around saying you graduated college, you sound illiterate. The correct way to say it is that you graduated FROM college.")

providencejim May-26-2013

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@providencejim - Yes, I nearly linked to that one myself; it's not often Mignon Fogarty gets in that much of a tizz about something. But there's no real reason why an intransitive verb can't turn into a transitive one; it's no doubt happened plenty of times before, although I can't think of any examples off the top of my head. After all, we change plenty of nouns into transitive verbs - "to access files", "to input data" etc. (I draw the line, however, at "We need to decision this"). But as you say, only time will tell

Warsaw Will May-27-2013

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I graduated my high school once with some paint. That was before I graduated from there though.

kjjh Jun-12-2013

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"To graduate" means to grant not to receive a degree. Harvard will graduate two red necks this spring. The red necks were graduated from Harvard (and now they may not go home).

Blazerboy Jul-21-2013

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The bigger problem is the number of television news readers and web-site and print-publication copy editors who are not schooled in proper English grammar and usage. A variety of solecisms including "graduated high school" are out of control. It is correct to say "I was graduated from high school" but it is a losing battle.

Seniorskibum May-04-2014

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In the real world one graduates from university.

Completing the required terms at a high school or college does not equate to a graduation.

user106928 May-06-2014

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I guess then, Mr. H. Scot, that here in the colonies we're just not living in the real world (I refer to the USA and Canada). If Scots do not choose to graduate students from high school or college, so be it. At least that would seem to mean that your students do not graduate those schools either.

providencejim May-07-2014

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@providencejim - Hi again. If we can ignore that 'in the real world bit'; that's just one of HS's little foibles. But in essence HS is right, there are a couple of differences between North American and British usage.

First of all, we don't graduate from secondary school (we leave or finish), only from university or other tertiary level institution.

Which is why university students taking ordinary degrees in Britain (and in North America, I think) are also known as under-graduates, and those doing masters or other higher level degrees are post-graduates or post-grads.

But I'd disagree with HS on one thing, where there are tertiary level colleges etc which aren't universities, you still graduate from them, for example The Royal College of Art, RADA, Guildhall School of Music and Drama. All of these institutions offer under-graduate and post-graduate courses. In effect they're honorary universities.

Secondly, it only works one way in British English - someone graduates from an institution (in something), but the institution never graduates someone. And in British English, we always 'graduate from' somewhere, we never 'graduate somewhere' , so the main question in this thread doesn't apply to us at all.

But I see I'm just repeating an earlier comment I made.

I hear, however, that 'high school' proms are beginning to catch on in Britain, so you never know; one day we might graduate from secondary school as well.

Incidentally, we don;t usually use the terms 'high school' or 'college' as a generic name for secondary school, although they are often included in a school's name - 'The Royal High School, Edinburgh', 'Eton College'. When I was a student, we used 'college' as generic word for tertiary level institutions - you didn't have to worry about distinguishing between university, poly (polytechnic) or further education college for example - but they're virtually all universities nowadays, anyway. Nowadays it's often just 'uni'.

Warsaw Will May-07-2014

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Hi, as WW says, I do have a number of foibles, one of which is a tendency to tongue in cheek statements. If I have offended you, I do apologise.

In the UK graduation is almost exclusively used to refer to gaining a university degree. There are, as WW says, some exceptions, but no doubt the process of global Americanisation will soon result in the term being used for all secondary and tertiary institutes regardless of their standing.

user106928 May-07-2014

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The correct form is of course "graduate from". :-))

user106928 May-07-2014

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I'm glad we all agree that it should be "graduate from," at least if one is graduating at all ;-). I'm curious, though, about the relation of finishing a secondary school to gaining employment without attending a college. For example, a firm here might be looking for candidates for a low-paying job and say they want a high-school graduate. Is there an equivalent shorthand for that in the UK?

In North America students working toward a bachelor's degree at a college/university are indeed called undergraduates. Those studying beyond that are graduate students, and if going beyond a master's might also be called doctoral candidates (which is pretty formal). And an undergrad aiming for medical school might be termed pre-med.

As for high school proms, I'm sorry to hear those are catching on (in part due to the ridiculous expenses incurred). "Prom" is an interesting term, as its origin is clearly in "promenade" yet even going back to the 1950s no one here ever called them promenades in my experience.

Good to hear from both of you!

providencejim May-07-2014

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I have heard the terms 'matriculate' and 'matriculant' used in connection with Senior Secondary or High Schools. But that sounds dreadful to my ear.
In the UK firms would advertise for applicants holding GCE 'O' or 'A' levels (SCE 'O' or 'H' in Scotland.) Sometimes called 'School Leaving Certificate'.
The terminology may well have changed in recent years.

As for proms; we did have end of year dances in 4th. and 5th. years at High School.
But nothing like those one sees in American movies.
These mostly consisted of Dashing White Sergeants, St. Bernard's Waltzes, and the like.
There were definitely no navel encounters, with or without loss of seamen. :-))

user106928 May-07-2014

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I will never be able to accept, "She graduated high school." NEVER!

Born in 1941, I grew up hearing "graduated from high school." I think "was graduated from high school" was still in use but was fading out.

As I was pondering, once again, this obnoxious change from "graduated from high school" to "graduated high school," I did realize that "was graduated from high school" (thanks "Jane") was probably the original way of saying it.

P.S. I just discovered this "Pain in the English" site. Yay!!

Wendalore May-08-2014

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According to the Google Ngram Viewer, "graduate from high school" appears 7 times as often as "graduate high school" in 2008, the most recent year for which results are available. "Graduate high school" is gaining (trending?) but has a long way to go. I have not heard ordinary people using this phrase, only news sources. Are they collaborating to show their power? I say "Never yield!"

jrh0 Aug-12-2015

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graduate high school simply goes against the grain , the structure of the language, that is why it sounds so illiterate ! It has nothing to do with idiomatic expressions. Whenever I hear it , as i did today on NBC News , it's a shock !!

marcel May-23-2016

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what is best for a resume?
Graduate from _______________
High School Diploma from________________

merrie bailey Jul-26-2016

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The idea of awarding a degree to a high school or college is fascinating. "I graduated college." What degree did it earn from you? Did it graduate with honors? Did the school wear a cap and gown?

Curtis Stotlar Jan-03-2017

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The worst thing is that this usage has entered professional level media including the advertising in the Seattle Times and an article in a magazine of national prominence. It could be that this is an example of language changing! OED of 2030 may cite the material I saw as examples of correct usage in the constantly changing English language.

Thomas Keyt Apr-10-2017

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I certainly was not taught that this is proper grammar. However, I graduated from high school in the 1960's. Had this changed?

carole Jul-06-2017

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Oh, this makes my day. I graduated from high school in 1974. I first heard "graduated high school" during the Twilight movie series and I thought it had to do with the West coast, and/or vampires, but now it has taken over! I'm sticking with "from."

Clearice Dec-17-2017

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Every-time I hear someone say, “graduated high school or college,” I want to roll my eyes and say,”Really? Are you sure? You us have missed your English classes.”

user109098 Aug-09-2020

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If you refer to this source to the experts from this service , who have been writing thesis for many years, then it would be correct to say “graduated from high school”. The current standard usage is to say someone graduated FROM high school. By 1963, the fourth edition of H. L. Mencken's book "The American Language" said that the active form had triumphed over the passive form because of the American drive to simplify the language.

Jeff Litwin Jul-26-2021

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I would never say "graduated high school" - to me, it's always been "graduate from high school". I have never heard anyone use the first phrase.

user110997 Aug-31-2021

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I don't see a problem with talking the way you feel comfortable. I here say I graduated from university, although for the last couple of years, I've been working and to graduate I had to order an essay almost every week. I say that because it's easier, although you could ask a similar question here. What's the correct way to say "I graduated" or "We graduated" =)

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user116247 Feb-15-2024

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from even sounds better

Cayden Mar-06-2024

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