When using “type of” or “types of,” we have to understand how uncountable and countable nouns work. It’s a common trend in English (which can make it challenging to learn). However, this article will aim to help you wrap your head around the rules.
Are “Type Of” And “Types Of” Followed By Singular Or Plural?
We use “type of” followed by a singular when only talking about one instance. A plural only follows it if we’re referring to multiple things sharing the same common ground. “Types of” can work with a singular when the nouns are uncountable and plural when multiple things are mentioned.
“Type of” refers to a singular instance or type. Therefore, it’s reasonable to expect both singular and plural forms to work here.
- Type of person (one type of a single person)
- Type of people (all the people having the same common trait)
“Types of” refers to multiple different types. We mostly use it with singular forms when they are uncountable, but we can use plural forms when they are countable too.
- Types of information (information is uncountable, so is the same both plural and singular)
- Types of apples (multiple types of apples have multiple qualities)
Types Of Thing
Let’s go over the four main meanings a little bit closer to see how they all work.
“Types of thing” is best when working with uncountable nouns. This way, we can use the plural “types” to refer to multiple different instances. However, since it’s common for plurals to follow this form, we use uncountable nouns to show the singular form instead.
In many cases, it’s grammatically correct to use “types of things.” It’s rare to come across “types of thing,” where “thing” is singular unless we are treating it as an uncountable object.
These examples should help you with it:
- The types of information you can get from this database aren’t very useful.
- The types of data you have noted down here are helpful to us.
- The types of money I’ve given to you should be transferrable.
- The types of this that works best for me include the ones that you’ve already got in your basket.
Types Of Things
“Types of things” is one of the more standard ways to write the phrase. We can use the plural “types” with the plural “things” to keep everything standard. This allows us to talk about multiple different instances of things that all share different qualities.
Since we are working with plural nouns, we know that we are working with countable nouns this time. After all, we can’t have a plural form of uncountable nouns.
Here are a couple of examples to help you:
- The types of apples that I like are red.
- The types of people you’ll come across here are far worse than you might expect.
- The types of friends I’ve made in this college are great.
- The types of houses on this market aren’t particularly to my taste.
Type Of Thing
“Type of thing” is another standard way to use “type” and “thing” in the singular. If we are only talking about one object (uncountable or countable), then we can use the singular form “type” to show the one thing that matters the most about it.
It’s very common for us to match the singularity of “type” with “thing” in writing. It allows us to follow grammatically correct rules without much fear. Also, after reading some examples, you’ll probably find that it’s much less jarring than some other forms.
Here are some examples to show you how it looks:
- Rock isn’t really my type of thing, but I appreciate that you enjoy it.
- It’s not really my type of thing, but that’s okay.
- The type of apple I like has got to be this one above all others.
- The type of person you’ve become is almost unbearable!
Type Of Things
“Type of things” is a difficult one to understand. It works in some cases when you’re talking about a group of things sharing one common trait. However, because it’s not common to use this form, “type of things” is often overlooked and avoided.
Many native speakers think it sounds a bit strange or jarring to use “type of things.” That doesn’t mean it’s grammatically incorrect, but it certainly means that you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who understands your meaning.
Check these examples out to help you with it:
- The type of people you associate with is causing you to change your behavior for the worse.
- I’ll be honest; I’m not very fond of the type of friends you are to me.
- You’re not the type of idiots that I thought you all were, to be completely honest.
- You’re all the type of workers a guy can associate himself with.
Are “Type Of” And “Types Of” Mostly Followed By Singular Or Plural?
It might help to look over some statistics to see which is the most popular form.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “type of thing” is the most popular choice, with “types of things” second in popularity. This shows that it’s more common to match the singular or plural form of “type” and “thing” in your writing.
However, things get slightly different when looking at specific examples. Take “type of apple” as an example:
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “type of apple” and “types of apples” are nearly identical in usage. This shows that we still want to match “type” and “thing” when working with countable nouns.
“Type” and “thing” should mainly stay in the same form when working with countable nouns. The only exceptions tend to come with uncountable nouns.
Are “Sort Of” And “Sorts Of” Followed By Singular Or Plural?
We can also use “sort” synonymously with “type.”
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “sort of thing” is by far the most popular choice in English. You’ll notice that “sorts of things” is the next most (although it’s not nearly as popular).
This again shows that “sort” and “thing” should always match whether they be singular or plural.
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Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.