Look at these sentences.

(a) I graduated from high school last year. (b) I graduated high school last year. (C) I finished high school last year.

Which one would you use?

Most native speakers I know said they use (c). However, high school textbooks use (a). COCA says that (a) has 355 examples, (b) has 239 examples, and (c) has 355 examples.

Are these three used interchangeably?

Considering that students who graduate from the university are called graduate students, I think what is graduated from should be the university, not high school.

Do you have any ideas?

  • 2
    It depends on where in the world you are. In the UK we only speak of graduating from university, but I believe in the USA you 'graduate' from school as well. May 17 at 7:50
  • I don't understand what you're asking here. You've already done the research to show that it's far from uncommon to omit the preposition from after [transitive] graduate, AND to show that people are as likely to finish as to graduate [from] high school. Do you just want us to confirm that what you've found is in fact true? May 17 at 13:32
  • 1
    The definition of "graduate" is "To be granted an academic degree or diploma". In the US, you get a diploma when you graduate from high school. You do not get a diploma when you finish 10th grade. "graduate" has both an intransitive and transitive sense.
    – ColleenV
    May 17 at 15:08
  • Ah, that makes sense! I didn't notice that getting a diploma when you finish high school! So, you can't say graduate from junior high school or primary school, right?
    – tak
    May 17 at 16:22
  • A native speaker I know gave an interesting comment. Graduate designates the highest degree that a person has. If you graduated from university, you don't say "I graduated from high school." You say "I finished high school." So, if you are still an undergraduate student and you haven't got a college degree, I wonder if they can say, "I graduated from high school."
    – tak
    May 18 at 5:30

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