Living in a college town and teaching at another local university, I hear this one a lot.

The common mistake is saying something like, “I am or she is an alumni of such-and-such college.” That’s impossible. Alumni is the PLURAL form of alumnus.

If you graduated from a college, you are an alumnus of that college. If a bunch of graduates are getting together, then the alumni of that school are gathering.

In other words, “I,” “he,” or “she” means “-us.” : )

(Or you can avoid the whole issue, and just say “alum” for short!)

(And yes, I know that TECHNICALLY, a female grad is an alumna, and the plural of that is alumnae. But I’m being radical and non-sexist, and my guess is that the female terms are on their way out to make way for a gender-neutral set of terms. Yes, I’m making a stand here….)

Note: No one wants a grammar lesson on Boxing Day, so the next post will be on January 2! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


This shouldn’t be a chapter at all….

Anyway, here we go.

When we want to make something plural (making it more than one), we add an “s” to the word. The exception in most English words is when the word already ends in -s, -s, -ch, or something similar, and then we add an “es”.

I’m not going to speak of busses, buses, women or children here. That’s too complicated for this blog. I’m stayin’ simple.

Where we are goofing up is in adding an apostrophe. Where the heck did that come from? One tree, two trees. Not two tree’s. Simple.

One house. Three houses. One bird. Two thousand birds. It’s not that hard.

Apostrophes indicate that something belongs to someone. Try not to think about that when making something plural.

Bottom line: For simple plurals, add an “s.” Leave the apostrophes out of it.