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Sort, Kind, or Type?

By
Mignon Fogarty,
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 the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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