Graduate vs graduate

Graduate and graduate  are two words that are spelled identically but are pronounced differently and have different meanings, which makes them heteronyms. These word pairs are often misused words. Heteronyms exist because of our ever-changing English language, and these words with the same spelling and different pronunciation and meaning are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that look the same but are not pronounced the same, and how to use them in sentences, because they are easily confused. The way the pronunciations and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling and misuse by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word tear meaning a liquid drop that falls from an eye is derived from the Old English word tear, meaning a drop or nectar; tear meaning to pull apart comes from the Old English word tearan, which means to lacerate. Heteronyms are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced differently but are spelled the same and come from a different etymology. They are often used in puns and riddles. When reading, it is sometimes difficult to know which word is being used in a sentence and how to pronounce the word phonetically. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check for these commonly confused words but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a heteronym in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. Do not confuse heteronyms with homophones, which are two or more words that are pronounced in the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings like sow and sew; do not confuse them with homonyms, which are words that have the same spelling and pronunciation but different meanings like spring as in spring forth and spring as in the season of the year. Heteronyms are a type of homograph, which is a word that is spelled the same as another word but has a different meaning. We will examine the definitions of the words graduate and graduate, where these words came from, and a few examples of their use in sentences. 

Graduate (GRAD yew ut) is a person who has completed a course of study at a college, university, secondary school, or other institution. The plural form is graduates. The word graduate is derived from the Latin, gradus, which means a step taken.

Graduate (GRAD yew ate) is a verb that means to complete a course of study at a college, university, secondary school, or other institution or to receive an academic degree from a college, university, secondary school, or other institution. In North America, graduate is also used as a verb to mean bestow a degree on someone who has completed a course of study. Graduate is also used to mean to arrange a series according to size, scale, color, weight, worth, etc. Related words are graduates, graduated, graduating, graduation. The word graduate is derived from the Latin word, graduatus, which means to obtain a degree.


Durango Police Chief Bob Brammer said it is a little tougher to determine the “portrait of a graduate” from a police perspective because of the gap between high school graduation and a job on the police force – a 17-year-old graduate can’t join the force until at least age 21. (Durango Herald)

Sahar Formoli, a graduate who earned degrees in political science and molecular biology, addressed the audience on behalf of her peers. (East Bay Times)

“Hotties you can watch me graduate today,” Megan Thee Stallion wrote on social media, sharing the streaming link to her TSU graduation with her combined 34 million Twitter and Instagram followers. (People)

172 nursing students at the University of Maryland will graduate early due to the labor shortage. (Business Insider)

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