Graduation Announcements: Grammar and Etiquette

As a homeschooler, you’re probably used to increased scrutiny from family or friends who question your lifestyle and educational choices. So when it’s time to announce to the world that your child is graduating, you might feel some pressure to get it perfect! While that scrutiny isn’t necessarily a good thing, we do want to help you reflect the excellence and value of your efforts to the “watching world”. Here are the traditional grammar and etiquette rules we recommend for formal graduation announcements (you can also find many wording suggestions here).

Remember, we also offer proofreading service with all of our announcements. Our “In-Depth Etiquette Check” evaluates your text for all of these grammar and etiquette rules.

1. Don't Capitalize the Beginning of Each Line

Unless the new line reads as the beginning of a new sentence, it need not be capitalized. This improves the flow of the text, and supports the next rule:

2. Capitalize the Name of the Event

The words “Graduation,” Commencement,” “Commencement Ceremony,” and “High School Graduation” are normally capitalized when they are the named “event” that the recipient is being invited to or informed of. The year is also normally capitalized on a social announcement: “Two thousand sixteen.”

3. Line Breaks Replace Punctuation

Punctuation that falls at the end of a line is usually omitted unless it’s essential for a correct understanding of the text. For example, instead of 

“by announcing the Graduation of our son, / Robert James Smith”, use this:
“by announcing the Graduation of our son / Robert James Smith”

4. Keep Prepositions With Their Objects

OK, grammar nerds. Prepositions should stay on the same line as their objects. For example, instead of

“Please join us for a celebration on / Saturday, the seventh of June”, use this:
“Please join us for a celebration / on Saturday, the seventh of June”

The big exception to this rule is if you want to have a student name or school name on a line of its own for emphasis. For example, these are both OK:

“the High School Graduation of / Molly Elizabeth Thomas”
“the Senior Class of / Riverside Classical Academy”

5. For Addresses, Spell Everything Out... Except the Zip Code

Sometimes these rules don’t make much logical sense… but hey, logic class is over! For the address, completely spell out the street name, state, or any other words you normally abbreviate (appt, ste, etc.). But the zip code need not be included in the address, lest you imply that your genteel recipients need everything spelled out for them 🙂

Instead of “513 W Parkridge Dr., Hastings NE 68901”, use this:
“513 West Parkridge Drive, Hastings, Nebraska”

6. Don't Switch between First Person and Third Person Mid-Text

This is a common and easy mistake. You want to be consistent through the whole text in how you refer to yourself – you’re either “We” (first person) or “They” (third person).

So if you begin by saying “We celebrate the blessing of our homeschooling journey”, you wouldn’t want to later say “they invite you to join them” (instead, use “we invite you to join us”).

Similarly, if you begin by saying “Mr. and Mrs. _____________ are pleased to announce…” then you’d want to follow with “the graduation of their son … please join them … at their home”, etc. (not “the graduation of our son … please join us … at our home).

7. Use Words, not Numbers, for Date and Time (If Space Allows)

It is general practice on social announcements to write out the time, date and year rather than using numerals – if you have the space.

Instead of “Saturday, May 27, 2023 at 4:00 p.m.”, use this:
“Saturday, the twenty-seventh of May, Two thousand twenty-three at four o’clock in the afternoon”

Does that take up five times as much space? Yes, indeed it does – but if you wanted efficiency, you’d probably just invite everyone through Facebook, right? 🙂

8. Fortune Favors the Bold

We hope you’ve found some value in the rules above, but please don’t let the details weigh you down. We’ve seen many wonderful and creative announcement texts over the years, and we love how the quirky and tongue-in-cheek language can reflect the individuality of the graduate or family. You certainly don’t need us telling you this, but don’t be afraid to color outside the lines a bit! If you have questions or need assistance, our expert staff are standing by to help.

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