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"Gradeaus" is a contraction for "geradeaus." Think of geradeaus spelled with an apostrophe instead of the first e: g'radeaus.
In spoken language unstressed e often is omitted. You can hear gerade, grade and grad. It's all the same. But you write gerade.
Its meaning is the same. Gradeaus is a kind of idiom. The written word is always Geradeaus both words are translated to straight.
Using user_unknowns examples. Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe aber 30 Semester Philosophie studiert. --> juxtaposition I'm no expert, but still have learned a lot. Ich bin kein Professor für Philosophie, habe jedoch 30 Semester Philosophie studiert. Change in focus. But no direct juxtaposition. --> I'm no expert, however I have ...
(c) Ich studiere an der Stanford-Universität. or Ich studiere in Stanford. (a) and (b) are not ok. EDIT: I agree that a hyphen is better in the case of (c).
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