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I want to start a sentence with "This kind of particles" but I'm not sure whether this expression is correct.

There is only one kind (silicate) of particles that I'm talking about, but there are several options of particles (halloysite, hectorite, montmorillonite,...). So I'm not 100% sure where to put the plural.

A similar example would be: This kind (fruit juice) of juices (apple, orange, cherry,)...

Hope you can help me, thanks a lot to all

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  • You could start your sentence with "Such particles". It means "these kinds of particle" but is neater. Sep 14, 2021 at 9:34
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    For technical writing you may also want to consider "These types of particles...". Not that there's anything wrong with "kind/kinds", but "type/types" feels a bit more natural in a technical or academic context where you're discussing well-defined categories or classes of things.
    – J...
    Sep 14, 2021 at 20:18
  • Is it possible that what you really want to say is "Particles of this kind ....."? We'd have to know more of your sentence to be sure, Sep 15, 2021 at 20:43

3 Answers 3

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"This" refers to a single thing. A "kind (of thing)" is singular, so you would seem to be okay so far.

However we don't usually say "kind of [plural noun]", but rather "kind of [mass noun or category]". Mass nouns and categories are singular when "kind" is singular. The category form of "particles" is "particle", which means it would be correct to say:

✔ This kind of particle is...

In your situation, you would not use "these", and "these" would state that you were talking about multiple kinds of particle. In the plural case, you would also pluralize the category.

🚩 These kinds of particles are...

(Grammatically correct, but not suitable for your situation)

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    Do you have a reference for "you would also pluralize the category"? "These kinds of particle" sounds better to me, as does "These kinds of wine" Sep 14, 2021 at 19:20
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    Compare to Fish vs Fishes, and People vs Peoples. Sep 14, 2021 at 23:35
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    @RossPresser I don't know where you're from, but what you're saying sounds better is certainly an assault on my ears. For context, I'm a native speaker that grew up in Michigan. Winters' seems quite right to me.
    – ttbek
    Sep 15, 2021 at 12:16
  • @ttbek I'm a native speaker who grew up in New Jersey. I guess Google ngram agrees with you, but "kinds of particle" still seems more, um, 'precise' when discussing varieties of the same class, particle. Sep 15, 2021 at 13:15
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    It is one of those things that just sounds wrong immediately for me. I think there was a different context that gave me a bit more pause. "Kinds of colors," maybe. In general 'kinds' implies we have more than one distinct class, and we wouldn't have multiple classes for one item. I think color messes with me a bit because I usually think of color as a continuous property rather than a classed property. And we don't seem to do this for something like "shades of blue." We don't say "shades of blues." I'm not sure I can rationalize why we do it how we do.
    – ttbek
    Sep 15, 2021 at 13:36
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The Cambridge dictionary defines kind as

a group with similar characteristics

Googling halloysite, hectorite and montmorillonite, it seems that they have only one thing in common- that they are all silicates. I'd be inclined to describe them as different kinds of silicate, rather than saying that they are all one kind of particle.

If you want to talk about all silicate particles, then you should say

Silicate particles...

If you want to talk about the particular subset of silicate particles that you have already mentioned, for example the three that you listed, you should describe them as

These kinds of [silicate] particle...

Taking the juices as an example:

I like fruit juice, particularly apple, cherry and orange. These kinds of juice are all available fresh at my local juice store.

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To my mind, the answer to this question is very clear-cut. The subject of the "this" or "these" is not "particles", but rather "kind":

  • This kind of...
  • These kinds of...

Therefore, it is grammatically correct (albeit a little odd-sounding), to say "this kind of particles".

A less clumsy option, of course, would be to say "this kind of particle".

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