Is it “what kind of” or “what kinds of”? Which do we use?!
The answer is that both phrases are correct!
You can use the phrases “kind of” or “kinds of” when you are speaking in English. Both can be correctly applied to sentences and are often used interchangeably.
Use the singular phrase “kind of” if you expect an answer with only one type or kind. You are talking about one specific thing.
- “What kind of weather do you like? I like sunny weather.”
- “What kind of book are you reading?”
- “What kind of car do you drive?”
- What kind of sauce is on the steak?
If you’re talking about more than one thing, use the phrase “kinds of.” Use the plural “what kinds of” if you expect you’ll get a plural answer.
- “What kinds of sports do you like to play? I like to play football and go running.”
- “What kinds of books do you like to read?”
- “What kinds of cars do you like to drive?”
- “They have all kinds of fruit.” (meaning=a variety of)
Kind of Vs Kinds of
Please note that the guidelines mentioned above are not strictly followed by native English speakers. This means that people will often informally say “what kind of…?” when they are actually asking about multiple things.
For example, “what kind of projects do you have to do at work?”
Here, the plural noun “projects” is paired with “kind of.” You can choose whether or not to give one or a list of answers.
However, “kinds of” remains the most preferred way to express plurality, not “kind of.”
What works best: “kind of” or “kinds of”?
We can use “kind of” and “kinds of” interchangeably in sentences but they come with slightly different meanings.
For example, you may be asking which sentence works best:
- What kinds of TV show do you like?
- What kind of TV shows do you like?
- What kinds of TV shows do you like?
- What kind of TV show do you like?
Let’s analyse what each sentence actually means based on the phrase “kind of” and “kinds of.”
Question One: What kinds of TV show do you like?
This question is incorrect.
The first question is not correct as “kinds” makes “TV shows” plural. We can say “what kinds of TV shows” or “what kind of TV shows” to suggest we are asking about many.
Question Two and Three: What kind of TV shows do you like? What kinds of TV shows do you like?
The second and third questions ask what TV genre you enjoy watching. Maybe you like action, cartoons, drama, documentaries…
The third question expects multiple answers. “What kinds of TV shows” suggests that there will be a variety of kinds/types.
Question Four: What kind of TV show do you like?
This final question may or may not be expecting multiple answers. While it is interpreted as asking for just one, you can give more than one answer.
Are these sentences correct or incorrect?
- These kind of books.
This is incorrect. The plural demonstrative these cannot modify the singular noun kind.
- These kinds of books.
This is correct. It is used when talking about multiple books.
- This kinds of book.
This is incorrect. The singular demonstrative this is modifying the plural noun kinds.
- This kind of book.
This is correct. We are talking about one kind or type of thing.
Meaning of “Kinda”
Kinda is an informal way of saying “kind of.” This may be seen in informal text or spoken casually, for example, “I’m kinda thirsty” means “I am kind of thirsty.”
What is the meaning of “this is my kind of thing”?
If you say “this i my kind of thing” it means it is something you enjoy or favor. It is something you like to do or you are good at. For example, “this music is my kind of thing.”
What is the difference between “kind of” and “kinds of”?
“Kinds” is used as a plural expression, to mean multiple kinds or types. “Kind” refers to one type or category.
What is the meaning of “kind of like”?
If you say you “kind of like the movie,” it means that you liked it to some degree. You liked it in some way; not exactly; just a little.
Other Useful Links
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.