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I never saw my classmates after the graduation.

I never saw my classmates after graduation.

Is it necessary to use in above-mentioned sentences "the" article? I suppose it is because I speak about a certain graduation.

But in the same time I saw in a dictionary:

After graduation, she wants to travel around Europe.

There is no "the" article but, of course, we speak about her personal graduation. Why is it like that? When do we use "after the graduation"?

It seems if you aren't sure about the article, it's easier to use gerund, right?

I never saw my classmates after graduating.

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  • "… the graduation" refers to the ceremony in or at which you graduated… "… graduation" alone refers to the fact that you have graduated… In the Posted context, there is no difference. "After graduation…" still means after the fact "After the graduation…" still means after the ceremony celebrating the fact. "… after graduating…" introduces an important difference and here, it's neither relevant nor useful. Feb 16, 2022 at 23:20

2 Answers 2

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If you are speaking of "graduation" as a time, you don't need "the":

after graduation, after lunch, after Christmas, after dark, after death.

All of these phrases mean "after the time of ...."

But if you are referring to a specific ceremony you could use "the".

Your graduation day will begin with gowning at 10 am. The ceremony will last from 11 am to 1 pm. After the graduation you are invited to the graduate luncheon with your tutors.

Here "graduation" refers to a ceremony, rather than a period of time.

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Your two sentences at the top actually have different implications. However, it is generally more idiomatic to omit the article. While saying “the graduation” does indicate that you are speaking about a specific graduation, it is understood that a graduation is more or less a one-time thing. That is, if the “graduation” in question is your own graduation, you don’t really need an article for it, because you’ll only have the one anyway. However, by adding “the,” you are implying that this is probably not your graduation but someone else’s, because it is just one out of many (that you might be attending as an audience member).

Finally, as to your final question, I would avoid using the gerund form because it’s rather ambiguous in this case. It’s unclear what the gerund applies to; are you, your classmates, or both groups graduating?

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    I think it’s implied which graduation it was: I never saw my classmates after (our) graduating. Feb 16, 2022 at 8:55
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    I would interpret after the graduation as referring to the actual ceremony, after graduation as meaning 'once we had all finished our studies at university'. Feb 16, 2022 at 9:19

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