Difference Between Alumni and Alumnus

Main Difference – Alumni vs Alumnus

Alumni and alumnus are two words that refer to those who were students at a particular school, college, or university. Many people misuse the term alumni when they refer to themselves as an alumni of a certain college or university. However, alumni cannot be used in the singular form. Alumni is a plural form whereas alumnus is the singular form. So, you should always use alumnus if you are referring to yourself. The main difference between alumni and alumnus is that alumni should be used with plural nouns and alumnus should be used with singular nouns.

This article explains, 

1. The Grammar, Meaning and Usage of the Word Alumni

2. The Grammar, Meaning and Usage of the Word Alumnus 

3. Difference Between Alumni and AlumnusDifference Between Alumni and Alumnus - Comparison Summary

Alumni – Meaning and Usage

Alumni is derived from Latin. Alumni is the plural form of alumnus. Alumni refers to a group of people of former students or graduates. Alumni can refer to both male and female students. However, there is a separate plural term alumnae which specifically refers to female students although this term is only popular among older female graduates. Thus, alumni can refer to both genders.

Given below are some example sentences which contain the term alumni.

The magazine contained articles by alumni.

Her in-laws are alumni of the Harvard University. 

The alumni association of the Princeton University organized a fundraiser.

Difference Between Alumni and Alumnus

Alumnus – Meaning and Usage

Alumnus is the singular form of alumni. Traditionally, this was used to refer to only male students. The term alumna was the corresponding female term. However, in a general context, alumnus can refer to both male and female students.

My brother is an alumnus of the Monash University.

Each alumnus should pay the membership before the 5th of August.

He was so proud that his son was an alumnus of Oxford University.

The shortened version alum and its plural form alums first came to use in the 19th century. Although alum was initially viewed as highly or informal, it is increasing in use as a gender-neutral alternative.

Main Difference - Alumni vs Alumnus

Ralph Bunche is an alumnus of Jefferson High School.

Difference Between Alumni and Alumnus

  • Alumni and Alumnus both refer to former students or graduates of a college, university or school. 
  • Alumnus is the singular form and refers especially to male students.
  • Alumni is the plural form of alumnus.
  • Alumna refers to a female graduate or former student. 
  • Alumnae is the plural form of alumna.

Image Courtesy:

“Alumni House, College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia, USA – 2008-04-23)” By Jrcla2 – Own work, (Public Domain) via  

“Ralph Bunche – 1963 March on Washington” By U.S. Information Agency. – originally posted to Flickr as Public Domain: Ralph Bunche at 1963 March on Washington (NARA) uploaded by David Shapinsky via  

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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