I'm reading this book, and there is a love scene in which I don't understand the usage of the word "type".
Here I quote a large chunk containing the word in question:

The whole affair was the precise opposite of what I figured it would be: slow and patient and quiet and neither particularly painful nor particularly ecstatic. There were a lot of condomy problems that I did not get a particularly good look at. No headboards were broken. No screaming. Honestly, it was probably the longest time we’d ever spent together without talking.
Only one thing followed type: Afterward, when I had my face resting against Augustus’s chest, listening to his heart pound, Augustus said, “Hazel Grace, I literally cannot keep my eyes open.”
“Misuse of literality,” I said.
“No,” he said. “So. Tired.”
His face turned away from me, my ear pressed to his chest, listening to his lungs settle into the rhythm of sleep. After a while, I got up, dressed, found the Hotel Filosoof stationery, and wrote him a love letter: ...

(from The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green)

1 Answer 1


The expression is [to] follow type.

It means to run true to form, to occur in a predictable way.

It is uncommon nowadays, perhaps considered a little rarefied. I haven't found it in any dictionary other than All Dictionary, where it seems to be used incidentally; perhaps 'follow form' was intended.

The associated sense of 'type' is given by dictionaries, eg AHDEL:

type b. An example or a model having the ideal features of a group or class; an embodiment: "He was the perfect type of a military dandy" (Joyce Cary).

OALD, I think (but it keeps misdirecting me to 'type I': but ODO/OALD is usually what the 'Google Dictionary' quotes) has the definition and synonyms

a person or thing exemplifying the ideal or defining characteristics of something.

"she characterized his witty sayings as the type of modern wisdom"

synonyms: epitome, quintessence, essence, perfect example, archetype, model, pattern, paradigm, exemplar, embodiment, personification, avatar; prototype

So 'follow type' would be 'conform to the expected pattern'; it is idiomatic in that padding words are not included (contrast *'follow pattern').

Again, rare nowadays.

  • Thank you. Having searched for it in Google Books in different date ranges, I agree with you that it is rare. Perhaps never been so common, especially in this idiomatic form.
    – Færd
    Oct 13, 2015 at 11:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.