I was wondering what the rules are when it comes to using articles with the phrase some sort of, and specifically in this sentence:

They’re treating me like I’m some sort of a star.

They’re treating me like I’m some sort of star.

To me it sounds better with a, but I’m not a native speaker, so I don’t know. Feel free to suggest alternative ways to say the same thing.

  • When a star means a celebrity, it is a common/regular noun and an article is required.
    – user140086
    Oct 3 '15 at 8:41
  • 5
    I've heard it used both ways, but common usage suggests that the article is not required. I'd say 'some sort of' means 'a type of'; therefore a further 'a' would be redundant. Compare with "I'm no expert, but..."
    – JHCL
    Oct 3 '15 at 12:08
  • One alternative is "They're putting me on a pedestal."
    – JHCL
    Oct 3 '15 at 12:28

Straight from the BBC Learning English page (archived)

sort of (a) / kind of (a) / type of (a)

Sort of / kind of / type of are usually followed by an uncountable noun or a singular countable noun with no article, but a / an is sometimes retained in an informal style:

What sort of (a) / kind of (a) / type of (a) dance is that?

Well, it’s a sort of jig or reel, danced to very fast time. I don’t know exactly what it is because there are several types of jigs – single jigs, double jigs, slip jigs and hop jigs.

Note that when the indefinite article is retained, it sometimes has a derogatory meaning:

What kind of a DVD player is that? You don’t seriously expect me to listen to electronic music with no surround sound, do you?

  • I'll second that putting in the indefinite article is often derogatory. "What kind of dance is that?" sounds like a genuine question, whereas "What kind of a dance is that?" sounds like a rhetorical question, implying that it's not a proper/real/acceptable dance.
    – AndyT
    Oct 22 '15 at 16:06

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