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Write the Right Word: Alumnus, Alumna, Alumni, Oh My!

Do you get confused when referring to someone who attended NDSU or other educational institution?

I don’t know of an easy way to remember which word to use, so here is a cheat sheet for you:

  • Alumnus – Use it when referring to a man who attended a school.
  • Alumna – This refers to a woman who attended a school.
  • Alumnae – Use this when talking about more than one woman who attended a school.
  • Alumni – This refers to more than one man who attended a school. You also use this when talking about a group of men and women who attended a school.

“Alum” is an informal way to refer to a man or woman who attended a school. The other words are preferable. If you do use “alum,” make sure your meaning is clear because alum also is a chemical compound.

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

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