We were, I think, typical both of a particular class of pre-war Germans and, by contrast, of the post-war country at large. On both sides our family was old, well established and, notwithstanding the wrecked economy, well off.

I don't know how can I receive the bolded part since 'typical' and 'particular' sound opposite to me.

  • 1
    Typical and particular are more similar than opposite. Typical here means we were like an average kind of rich German, a representative of that group. Particular means this specific kind of German. Jan 13, 2021 at 14:05
  • 1
    We were [almost certainly] members of a certain class (call it set S1) of Germans that existed before the war. And we were typical members of S1. Jan 13, 2021 at 15:17
  • It's either missing yet another comma, an ly, another of, or either of or both is in the wrong spot.
    – Mazura
    Jan 14, 2021 at 1:22
  • A quote from Hitler's Forgotten Children: My Life Inside the Lebensborn by Ingrid Von Oelhafen
    – Henry
    Jan 14, 2021 at 9:39

2 Answers 2


Whatever the link you make between typical and particular, you do not need to be worried that they clash in your sentence. particular simply modifies one of the categories "we were typical of". You can simplify and say:

We were, I think, typical both of A and, by contrast, of B.

where A is

a particular (certain, specific) class of pre-war Germans

We were representative of a particular class, not of any class.


Typical means

having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing.

You have a certain class of pre-war Germans consisting of a group of people with certain characteristic. The writer is a typical example of those people, as well as the postwar country at large.

  • This is about the writer's family rather than the writer herself (she - Ingrid Von Oelhafen - was born during WWII).
    – Henry
    Jan 14, 2021 at 9:08

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