Graduate, then commence onward

May 5, 2013

Where are you graduating from? Or are you just graduating? On this edition of "That's What They Say," host Rina Miller and Professor Anne Curzan discuss the mishaps with the proper use of "graduation."

There's been a good amount of change around the verb graduate, explains Curzan.

"It used to be that the University was supposed to graduate you...in the nineteenth century we started to get that students could graduate from the university."

Before you graduate from a university, or just graduate, you've got to matriculate. But what does matriculation actually mean?

"Matriculation technically means, 'to enroll in or at,' and you'll often see it used that way, but there appears to be some confusion. People sometimes use matriculate to mean graduate," says Curzan.

Matriculate, or graduate? Graduate, or commence? Maybe grab a dictionary from the closet while you're getting that grammar book.

"Some people are confused as to why the end of your college career would be called a beginning, a commencement. And the idea of it is that the end of your high school or college career would be the time that you are commencing upon a professional career," Curzan explains.

To all those who have matriculated, are graduating, and are in the process of commencing a new career, here's a congratulations to you!