Vocabulary Tips: How to Use “Graduate” and “Graduated”
  • 2-minute read
  • 20th April 2022

Vocabulary Tips: How to Use “Graduate” and “Graduated”

A lot of people get confused by the word graduate, because it can be a verb, a noun, and an adjective. In addition, graduated – with a “d” on the end – is another adjective. Read on to find out how to use these words correctly in your writing.

Graduate (Noun): A Person Who Has Completed Their Studies

A graduate (pronounced grad-yoo-uht) is somebody who has successfully completed a course of study, usually a degree:

I am a graduate of the University of Chicago.

That company only recruits graduates.

Graduate (Verb): To Complete One’s Studies

To graduate (pronounced grad-yoo-ate) means to successfully finish a course of academic study:

What will you do after you graduate?

He graduated from college in 2019.

The verb graduate doesn’t always refer to academic study though. It can be used to describe the action of progressing to a more advanced level in any area:

I started out knitting scarves, but I’ve graduated to sweaters.

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Graduate (Adjective): Relating to Study Beyond a First Degree

When graduate is used as an adjective, it refers to studying beyond a first degree. You can use it to describe such a course of study, a school, or a student:

He is in graduate school, studying for a master’s degree.

My parents are both graduate students.

Graduated (Adjective): Relating to a Regular Series of Levels 

Finally, graduated as an adjective has nothing to do with academic study at all! It describes something (e.g., a cup or cylinder) that is marked with units of measurement. Alternatively, it can refer to anything that divides into a series of regular stages:

We used a graduated cup to measure 100 ml of water.

Under a graduated tax system, big earners pay a higher rate than those on a low income.

Summary: “Graduate” and “Graduated”

As we have seen, the word graduate can be a noun, a verb, and also an adjective. It is always connected with completing a course of study or progressing to a more advanced level. In addition, graduated is an adjective which describes something that divides into regular units.

We hope you now feel confident about using graduate and graduated in your writing. If you’d like an expert to check your work for misused words and other errors, our proofreaders are always available. Find out how we can help you improve your writing by sending a free trial document today.

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