5

If the noun after kind of is singular, do we use an indefinite article or not? For example,

  • That kind of an answer is teasing.
  • That kind of answer is teasing.

Which is correct?

  • Have you tried asking on English Language Learners ? – Kris Mar 29 '14 at 6:19
  • I think the article comes in with pure noun phrases but not with gerund-like ones. I can't stand that kind of a noise vs. I can't stand that kind of noise-making. – Kris Mar 29 '14 at 6:23
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    @Kris - perhaps it's AmE, but I disagree. That kind of attitude will get you nowhere. That kind of man is trouble. That kind of fabric itches. That kind of error is preventable. – anongoodnurse Mar 29 '14 at 6:35
  • @medica I would use an article in every one of those, in formal writing, AmE or not. – Kris Mar 29 '14 at 6:44
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    I side with @medica. that takes the place of an as the article and as you can only have one article that is it. that answer, not that an answer. Thus that kind of answer. As an native AmE speaker, that kind of an answer sounds unnatural to my ear where as that kind of answer doesn't. – Dan D. Mar 29 '14 at 7:23
4

Both are correct and grammatical. Personally I think I would usually leave out the article, but maybe not always.

1

I think there is a slight difference - or at least slight in terms of habits of usage. But "kind of" tends as a phrase to gravitate towards entities that actually exist and that are readily identifiable, whereas "kind of a" tends towards the hypothetical.

"That kind of car doesn't suit my purposes," says someone, speaking of a particular make and model.

"What kind of a car would it be that allowed passengers to stand?", says someone else, speaking of a car that might exist, but probably doesn't.

As I say, the difference is slight, and both forms are continually invading each other's territory, but I do think that there is a particular flavour to "kind of a" that tends towards the hypothetical.

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