Ask the Editor
Archive
Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large
Idiomatic use: "sort of" and "kind of"
Thursday September 9th 2010
Question
Idiomatic use: "sort of" and "kind of"
Answer

Sort of and kind of are nearly always interchangeable.

It's interesting to note that kind of is used much more frequently than sort of. This is a bit surprising since the terms can be used in so many contexts.

Here are some examples of idiomatic use of the two phrases, but note that we could substitute one for the other in each case:

It was written in a technical sort of shorthand.

There was some sort of design problem.

We like hiking, camping, and that sort of thing.

==

Examples of this kind of thing are everywhere.

That's the exact kind of jacket I was looking for.

What kind of manners are you teaching your kids?

 

==

 

The terms can also be used as informal independent answers to a question:

 

"Are you feeling better?" "Sort of." = [I'm feeling somewhat better.]

"Can you see the other boat?" "Kind of." = [I can see the other boat, but not clearly.]

 

Archive