About nine years ago, I received from a quite insistent source the claim that the verb "to graduate" is transitive, and, specifically, that the intransitive usage was wrong. For example, the following are claimed to be correct:
- The university graduates you.
- You've been graduated! [You have been graduated by . . .]
- I graduated university X!
- I graduated from university X!
(The last is interesting since it actually doesn't have an object; it has a prepositional phrase). While e.g. the following are claimed to be incorrect:
- I graduated.
- You won't graduate!
This has led to this question, which establishes that both uses are acceptable in modern usage, but that the intransitive usage was less common in the past. Not wrong, mind you, just less common.
Looking in dictionaries, it seems that Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster, Cambridge, and TheFreeDictionary indeed all support both usages as correct. Something interesting happens with Oxford. The most complete definition is on the sub-site for American English and lists intransitive as the primary definition with two different types of transitive usage as being "informal" and "North American".
Under all this, I would like to ask a related question:
Is there any merit to the claim that the intransitive usage of "to graduate" is wrong?
The claim specifically is that the intransitive usage is a modern invention (>1900), and that dictionaries have shifted to allow it. Is this indeed the case? Or, has the intransitive usage always been allowed but just was less common before now?