Kind of, Sort of, and Type of

How to use "kind of," "sort of," and "type of" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

The expressions kind ofsort of, and type of are essentially interchangeable:

a certain kind of person = a certain sort of person = a certain type of person

Remember not to add an article (a or an) at the end of this expression:

a kind of a person
a kind of person

Remember to keep number consistent in phrases using these expressions:

this kind of environments
these kind of environments

this kind of environment (all singular)
these kinds of environments (all plural)

This rule has not always been followed, and the usage “these kind of [noun]s” has a long, well-established history. However, this usage is now generally considered nonstandard.

The use of kind of and sort of as an adverb meaning somewhat (“kind of cool”) is considered slang. However, you only need to avoid this usage in formal writing.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.