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Spelling and Usage

Alumnus, Alumni, Alumna, and Alumnae

The word "alumnus" refers to a male graduate; "alumni" is its plural form. The word "alumna" refers to a female graduate; "alumnae" is its plural form. "Alumni" is also used to refer to two or more graduates of mixed gender:

  • Many alumnae from Hartford College for Women were at the reunion.
  • He is one alumnus who went on to do great things.
  • Alumni Affairs sponsors a number of trips during the year.

Emeriti, Emeritus, and Emerita

"Emeriti" refers to two or more retired professors holding emeritus rank; "emeritus" refers to a male; "emerita" refers to a female.


Titled or Entitled

Use "titled" when referring to the name of a book, speech, or other work. Do not write "entitled":

  • Her dissertation was titled "Effects of Narrated Computer Animation Versus Pure Computer Animation on Understanding of the Operation of an Internal Combustion Engine."

Advisor or Adviser

In academic or University references, use advisor. In all other uses, including business references, use adviser. 

  • academic advisor
  • Your advisor will help you decide on a major.
  • Sales and marketing strategies are formed through a network of business advisers.

Toward or Towards

While both terms have the same meaning and are used interchangably, the more common and preferred term in this country is toward.