For example:

  1. This is some type of mushroom.

  2. This is some kind of mushroom.

  3. There are different types of books.

  4. There are different kinds of books.

I think that they are all valid sentences, but somehow I have the impression that a type is a bigger group than a kind.

Is this correct?

4 Answers 4


In short, type is used to differentiate one group from the rest and kind is used to link an individual to a group. They are sometimes interchangeable, but not always.

Type refers to clearly distinguishing and essential characteristics or traits shared by members of a group. Its root meaning is "impression."

O+ is the most common blood type in the United States of America.

To mankind in general Macbeth and Lady Macbeth stand out as the supreme type of all that a host and hostess should not be — Max Beerbohm.

Kind, on the other hand, usually refers to a group trait that is shared innately by the members (see "mankind" above). Its root meaning is "race" or "offspring."

The true test of civilization is, not the census, nor the size of the cities, nor the crops, but the kind of man that the country turns out — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The rule which forbids ending a sentence with a preposition is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put" — misattributed to Winston Churchill.

Interchangeable use:

She's not that kind/type of person. She is not nasty. She's very nice.

See examples below:

She's not my type. (=I'm attracted to a different kind of girl)

She's not your kind. (=She's a fundamentally different sort of person)

See link1 and link2.

  • 3
    It is subtle, but you shed some light on the topic, so thanks!
    – PhiLho
    Commented Mar 28, 2013 at 12:02
  • 1
    What do you mean by "Its root meaning is impression"? Could you elaborate?
    – Gigili
    Commented Jul 20, 2013 at 10:32
  • So, is it wrong to say "O+ is the most common blood kind in the United States of America"? Commented May 9, 2017 at 7:46
  • 2
    I also found this helpful explanation: http://difference-between.com, regarding the difference between kind, type and sort
    – jpenna
    Commented Sep 15, 2018 at 6:31
  • 1
    I don't think that the definition of kind as "group trait that is shared innately by the members" is correct. Say if the group is "human" an innate shared trait would be, for example "breather". That doesn't sound like a kind.
    – User
    Commented Jan 26, 2021 at 8:16

I'm afraid it's rather nebulous and very context dependent. Both can be very general or very specific depending on what you're talking about. For this kind (or type) of general purpose use you can regard them as equivalent.


I'm not a native speaker, but to me it looks like this:

  • type — if the thing can be further subdivided, into subtypes or kinds;
  • kind — if there is no further subdivision.

Came to this conclusion after reading this page on Yahoo Answers.

  • At first I thought you might be on to something, but I don’t know that this is true. Consider: A human is a kind of primate, a primate is a kind of mammal, a mammal is a kind of chordate, a chordate is a kind of animal, an animal is a kind of eukaryote.
    – tchrist
    Commented Mar 17, 2013 at 12:50
  • 3
    @tchrist Yes, you're right, this obviously breaks my theory, though it can still be useful, e.g. when in need of a naming convention in code (my primary interest in the topic). Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 19:20
  • @SeaCoastofTibet In type theory however, "kind" typically refers to a higher order "type", breaking your theory for code as well. ;) See Haskell for instance.
    – Safron
    Commented Jun 22, 2023 at 11:48

I always understood type to refer to typology where there is an antitype–type representation. Kind is a grouping by classification.

  • If only you could use initial capitals, capitalized the FPP, included a justification, cited strong supporting references and argued convincingly for your case, this could have been a great answer, perhaps.
    – Kris
    Commented Jan 11, 2014 at 6:07

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