singular or plural:

I used this example in a post (The difference among "type of", "sort of", "kind of" and "style of" when referring to categories)

Adverbs are a type of words that describe verbs adjectives other adverbs or clauses.

Where I'm not sure which is supposed to be used, singular or plural. I guess each of them makes sense.

with singular

Adverb is a type of words that describe verbs adjectives other adverbs or clauses.

refers to any/each adverb;

with plural, it refers to all types of adverbs.

Is my understanding right?

  • 2
    "Adverbs are a type of word".
    – BillJ
    Feb 19, 2020 at 8:30
  • @BillJ Thanks! Would you please explain a little bit?
    – brennn
    Feb 19, 2020 at 8:32
  • 1
    a type is singular. Plural is: Adverbs are types of words that.
    – Lambie
    Dec 15, 2021 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


Firstly, your understanding that the difference has to do with any/each adverb as opposed to all types of adverbs is incorrect. The sense in both is plural.

There is some confusion among native English-speakers over which is correct, and it might be safest to rephrase your sentence to avoid 'type of' altogether.

'An adverb is a word that describes . . .'
'Adverbs are words that describe . . .'

What do you gain from telling us "An adverb is a type of word"?

There is considerable discussion of this on StackExchange. Here, for example:

Types of things vs. types of thing

There are some useful rules suggested there. In general it seems that in the UK we prefer 'types of thing' and in the US they prefer 'types of things'.

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