I sometimes see such a phrase:

It's kind of difficult.

There is not an article before "kind" here.

So, I am not sure if I can say like this or not.

They are kind of fruit.

I usually say like this:

They are a kind of fruit.

I guess "a kind" in the third sentence and "kind" in the first sentence have different meanings, but I would like to know whether it is actually possible to say, "They are kind of fruit" or not.

1 Answer 1


You definitely can't say: "Bananas are kind of fruit." You need to say "a kind" in this case, where "kind" is a noun.

As you note, "kind of" can also mean "to some extent." When used this way, "kind" isn't a noun - it's part of a fixed adverbial phrase - and wouldn't take an article, as you already know.

There's yet another meaning of "kind of," in which "kind" is an adjective. For example, "Thank you; that's very kind of you." Obviously you wouldn't use an article here, either.

  • It's kind of a knife which also can be used as a screwdriver. - Is the sentence wrong?
    – user1425
    Dec 5, 2022 at 7:01
  • 1
    @user1425 If you’re trying to say that the item is not exactly a knife, but resembles a knife in some way, then this is right. If you’re trying to say that the item is, in fact, a sort of knife, then you need the article “a” before kind.
    – cruthers
    Dec 6, 2022 at 13:42
  • But I don't see any confirmation of the legitimacy of such a usage in any dictionary. There is not an example of "kind of + noun" in any dictionary.
    – user1425
    Dec 6, 2022 at 15:06
  • @user1425, How do you expect me to respond to that?
    – cruthers
    Dec 6, 2022 at 17:07
  • What else do I have to instruct you on?
    – user1425
    Dec 6, 2022 at 18:04

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