Sort, Kind, or Type?

Mignon Fogarty
1-minute read
Episode #483

When you're talking about categories of things, you can use the words sort, kind, and type interchangeably:

  • Squiggly doesn’t like this sort of vacation.
  • Squiggly doesn’t like this kind of vacation.
  • Squiggly doesn’t like this type of vacation.

They all mean the same thing.

I was curious which phrase is more common, so I searched Google Books, and in both American and British English, kind of is the most popular. Sort of comes next, and type of is the least popular.

I tried a few different phrases to make sure I wasn’t muddying up the results with sentences that use kind of and sort of as qualifiers, such as I kind of like vacations, and the results were consistent. Kind of still won. 

sort, kind or type

Finally, another common error when using these words is forgetting to make them plural when they follow the word these. It’s

  • Aardvark likes these kinds of vacations.
  • Aardvark likes these sorts of vacations.
  • Aardvark likes these types of vacations.

That was your Quick and Dirty Tip: Sort, kind, and type are interchangeable. 

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.