Question: “I have two grammatical questions. Which is correct: “almost always” or “most always?” It seems to be the new thing to say “most always.” I have always said “almost always” in a sentence.
The second question is: “Graduate high school/college” or “graduate from high school/college.” I learned “graduate from high school/college.” (Donna Jelgerhuis, Westfield)
Answer: Thanks for writing in, Donna. To knock out your first question: Never fear, you’ve been using proper grammar all along. “Most always” is simply slang. It’s the grammatical equivalent of only raising your arms to shoulder level during jumping jacks.
To answer your question about the verb “to graduate,” we need a quick course in transitive and intransitive verbs. A transitive verb is one which requires a direct object. Examples of transitive verbs include “catch,” “eat” and “read” (“catch the ball,” “eat your dinner,” “read a book”). Intransitive verbs require no direct object: “Jim complained.” “Sally jumped.” “Mike ran.” You will often find intransitive verbs followed by an adverb or prepositional phrase to further describe the action: “Sally jumped over the hurdle.”
What makes “graduate” a little tricky is that it can be both a transitive and intransitive verb. As a transitive verb, “graduate” means to grant an academic degree: “Butler University graduated 500 students last spring.” As an intransitive verb, “graduate” means to be granted an academic degree: “I graduated from high school with a 4.0” Technically it should probably be “I was graduated,” but I think that usage hast mostly fallen by the wayside.
When you say, “I graduated high school,” “high school” acts as a direct object. This turns “graduated” into a transitive verb, and makes the sentence mean, “I granted my high school a diploma.” The correct way to express your own graduation is intransitively: “I graduated from high school.” You could also simply say: “I graduated.” Or, as I said when I finally graduated: “Woohoo!”