From Jim Miller. (2002). An Introduction to English Syntax. p.109.

Nouns in English do not fall into different grammatical classes of the sort found in Latin.

As the book has discussed in Chapter 5 on the lexicon, the english noun classes fall into : concrete vs abstract,common vs proper,and so on. But, Latin has gender and declinations classes.

So, 'Nouns in English do not fall into different grammatical classes found in Latin.' also makes sense.

"the sort" here seems to be redundant, and in my view it functions as an appositive.

Likewise, in The city of Newcastle lies at the mouth of Newcastle river.,if we have already known the city is Newcastle, we could also remove Newcastle.

So, does 'the sort' really function as what I think?

  • 1
    Why do you think "the sort" might be an appositive? What phrase do you think it is in apposition with?
    – gotube
    Oct 23, 2023 at 7:36
  • @gotube I have re-edited it.
    – Mr. Wang
    Oct 23, 2023 at 8:51
  • 1
    Using "of the sort" makes it more general or vague than without - "different grammatical classes found in Latin" would mean specifically the 5 classes of nouns declined as in Latin; with "of the sort" it means anything similar with e.g. 3 or 6 classes of nouns. Check the dictionary, particularly the examples.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 23, 2023 at 9:23
  • @Stuart F So,can 'of the sort' be moved to the end? That is,Nouns in English do not fall into different grammatical classes found in Latin of the sort .
    – Mr. Wang
    Oct 23, 2023 at 10:01
  • 2
    @mrwang: He needed a small basket of apples of the sort used in pies. "of the sort used in pies" modifies "apples". He needed the type of apples that are used in pies. sort = variety, type, ilk, kind. If you omit "of the sort" the sentence still makes sense, but "of the sort" makes clearer that a specific kind of apple is desired: apples for baking, as "apples for eating" like Red Delicious or Fuji are not usually used in pies. In your example, it's better to say that English nouns don't fall into classes like those found in Latin (of the sort), not into Latin classes directly. Oct 23, 2023 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


It is a prepositional phrase, but the object of the preposition "of" includes the relative clause "found in Latin"

"Sort" means "type", and "the sort found in Latin" means "the type of noun classes that are found in Latin" (and I know that the noun classes found in Latin are the gender and declinations classes)

You can't remove "of the sort" because the relative phrase "found in Latin" is part of the phrase. You could remove the entire prepositional phrase "of the sort found in Latin".

  • So a paraphrase would be “The type of different grammatical classes found in Latin do not apply for nouns in English.” Oct 23, 2023 at 11:55
  • 2
    But you can remove "of the sort". In this exact context, that's not very idiomatic unless we add some kind of "determiner" before the preceding "head noun" that the relative phrase "found in Latin" modifies: ...do not fall into the / those different grammatical classes found in Latin. Or we could replace "of the sort" with just ...do not fall into different grammatical classes as found in Latin. Both those alternatives sound fine to me (though I'd say they convey slightly different nuances). Oct 23, 2023 at 14:52
  • "of the sort" is not a complete phrase in the example given, since the relative clause is bracketed within it. You may be able to rephrase this without the words "of the sort" but that is sort of different. Just removing "of the sort" would make the relative clause apply to the noun "classes" and not "sort" and would have a different structure.
    – James K
    Oct 23, 2023 at 20:53
  • The author uses 'of the sort' to convey a sense of similarity rather than accurate equality.
    – Mr. Wang
    Oct 24, 2023 at 2:20

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