I'm at a loss! If I'm talking about several different types/kinds of something, should the 'something' be pluralised or not? For instance, an Ngram search shows that different types of conflict is far more common than different types of conflicts, but on the other hand, an Ngram search for different types of book(s) gives the opposite result! I have also searched for the same string with war(s), fight(s), concept(s), and flower(s), with the same varied – and seemingly random – result.

So, what are the rules (if any!?) here?

  • 2
    In your searches, is there any correlation between words that are frequently used as uncountable nouns ("conflict", "war" ) and words that are only or almost only used as countable nouns ("book", "fight", "concept", "flower")?
    – gotube
    Nov 13, 2022 at 22:56
  • @gotube Hm, you may be on to something :) That said, for instance emotion, which I would think would be used as an uncountable noun as often as conflict and perhaps also war, shows a clear preference for the plural, so... I don't know. But this aspect certainly seems to be a factor! Thanks!
    – Gerda
    Nov 14, 2022 at 0:37
  • Does this answer your question? kind of X / kinds of X / kinds of Xs Nov 14, 2022 at 1:36
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    @MarcInManhattan That question has no accepted answer and links to another question which also has no accepted answer.
    – Astralbee
    Nov 14, 2022 at 9:41
  • @Astralbee My understanding is that in such cases a poster with a similar question should edit the previous question to get it bumped so that it gets attention and hopefully answers. Doing so can not only get the poster's question answered but also get the original question answered and avoid duplication. Nov 14, 2022 at 18:05

1 Answer 1


There are so many different possibilities.

Kinds of flowers could be correct if you meant multiple kinds (types) among multiple flowers. This is because 'kinds' can mean a type or variety of flora or fauna.

Kinds of flower could also be correct because we use the word 'flower' as a non-countable noun to refer to that subsection of plant life collectively.

Some 'non-count' nouns can also be pluralised, for example 'food' can mean all food, but we use the plural 'foods' to mean individual types of food.

In short, either could be plural, both, or neither, depending on what you are trying to say.

  • What kind of food do you like? (to elicit one answer, perhaps. eg "Italian")
  • What kinds of food do you like (to elicit more answers eg "Italian, Chinese...")
  • What kind of foods do you like (to ask what types of food a person likes, perhaps?)

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