Ok, check this online Toefl test page,

Question: When did Mary ____ college?


A) graduate

B) graduate from (TOEFL thinks B is correct)

C) graduating

D) graduating from

I checked Oxford dictionary,

[intransitive, transitive] to get a degree, especially your first degree, from a university or college

graduate (in something) Only three students graduated in Czech studies last year.

graduate (from…) She graduated from Harvard this year.

He graduated from York with a degree in Psychology.

graduate something (North American English) She graduated college last year.

According to the dictionary, it seems that we use "graduate from" with specific universities or colleges & we use "graduate college" when we say "to graduate college" generally without knowing the specific one.

So, Why is "When did Mary graduate college?" considered wrong in TOEFL test?

  • 5
    I noticed that the dictionary notes that the usage without from is North American. I'm guessing that means that it's not common, or it's strange, in non-North American English. So I'm guessing further that the test prefers the usage with from since it is acceptable wherever. But you're right to be suspicious. The usage without from is acceptable, at least in North American English.
    – Em.
    Jun 6, 2017 at 5:03

2 Answers 2


M-W would appear to disagree with the test. "When did Mary graduate college?" is common usage in AmE, and M-W even seems to prefer it (their definition (transitive) is "to be graduated from", so adding another "from" would be equivalent to "When did Mary become graduated from from college?". Their usage example:

joined the navy after graduating high school

No "from". The intransitive form doesn't even require "college"; "to receive an academic degree or diploma": "graduated with honors"

You are free to specify where graduation occurred, in which case you can use "from", but "college", in the generic usage, can just be tacked on as a descriptor of what "graduated" refers to.


When did Mary graduate college?

although is understandable, technically one can not

graduate college

But Mary, herself

graduated college

and she "graduated from" somewhere.

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