Given this sentence:

I started using it to document the system (we didn’t have documentations of any sorts) and create our regression tests.

Concerning the part marked in bold, which would be the correct way to write it, of any sort or of any sorts?

Also, would either one of them be used in another case?

  • 3
    I'd recommend you to stick with of any sort. – Damkerng T. May 10 '15 at 21:09
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    'Any sort' is probably better most of the time, but there are edge cases where maybe you could use 'sorts', which I don't feel sufficiently qualified to list. Related questions on English stack exchange: The use of any with plural/singular words, “Any” followed by singular or plural countable nouns? – DCShannon May 27 '15 at 0:49
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    Of any sorts of [a name of a plant] is quite common, but that's not what you are looking for. Examples of usage similar to yours: 1, 2. The rules behind this? I have no idea, but I hope we'll find out if pazzo's generous offer produces the desired effect – Lucky May 28 '15 at 2:10
  • @Lucky +1 for the second example (of any sorts). I could not read the first link due to viewing limitations on Google books, or something. – user6951 May 28 '15 at 22:37
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    @pazzo the first one is from: A Tale of Two Brothers: Jim Morrison & Michael Hutchence by Jacqueline Murray - "Absolutely no heroin would have been found in my body, or cocaine, or anything but my prescription drugs from the doctor, alcohol and nicotine. There was never any reason for a cover-up of any sorts, but you see, Pamela didn't know how I died. She wasn't there." published by AuthorHouse, 2008. – Lucky May 29 '15 at 4:17

It has been proven by other answers and comments that in this case of any sort is more common, safer and preferable to of any sorts. The question remains - is of any sorts used at all? A Google books search of the phrase promptly returns 27100 results, but we shouldn't hold our breath yet. Many of those have to be discarded:

  1. False positives: of any sorts of which is actually (of) any sorts of and this is not what the OP is asking about (but in case someone is wondering there are examples of: any + plural + of listed in dictionaries);
  2. False positives: Botany/gardening texts, where sort or sorts usually refers to a plant variety, which is not what the OP is asking about;
  3. False positives: there was one example that contained a digitization error and sorts was actually forts in the original text;
  4. Sources like books from self published authors, vanity publishers (e.g. 1, 2 and probably 3 and 4), speeches and published letters because it is likely that they were subjected to dubious editing or none at all.

Are there any examples left? Yes, there are.

  • Publications by various universities (I certainly hope these contain proper grammar):

1.The Business of Lobbying in China by Scott KENNEDY, Harvard University Press, 2005:

Large SOEs, such as Baogang, who could still profitably sell steel below the industry's average production costs (the standard by which price floors would be set) opposed intervention of any sorts.

  1. Philosophy and Its History: Issues in Philosophical Historiography by Jorge J. E. Gracia, SUNY Press, 1992:

This tendency to reject absolutes of any sorts is evident both in Anglo-American and Continental philosophy.

  1. Philosophical Issues in Psychiatry: Explanation, Phenomenology, and Nosology by Kenneth S. Kendler, Josef Parnas, JHU Press, 2008:

Our best control panel for the disorders in which we are interested may turn out to involve combinations of variables of any sorts.

  1. The Yale Critics: Deconstruction in America edited by Jonathan Arac, Wlad Godzich, Wallace Martin, U of Minnesota Press, 1983:

Suffice it to say that this "engenderment" of the whole series by its exceeding supplement is neither that of an emanation or creation of any sorts, nor a constitution by means of a transcendental instance.

  • Something not published by universities?

    It seems to me that these two examples are published by houses whose editing and publishing procedures can be trusted (but I know next to nothing about publishing and publishers, so I cannot be absolutely sure):

1) Paper Talk: A History of Libraries, Print Culture, and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada Before 1960 by Brendan Frederick R. Edwards, Scarecrow Press, 2005

They have individual desks and libraries."103 No further announcements regarding libraries of any sorts would appear in the annual reports again until the 1950s.

2) Wittgenstein's (Misunderstood) Religious Thought by Earl Stanley B. Fronda, BRILL, 2010

Be-ing is Nothing—beyond ontology of any sorts (“above and beyond speech, mind or being itself”)

(emphasis mine in all examples)


The phrase of any sorts returns 0 results in the British National Corpus, of any sort returns 150. The difference in Google hits is massive.

In conclusion, of any sort is much more common than of any sorts, but both are used in English. Unfortunately I cannot find any specific documentation on this subject, so if you want to make sure you're using a correct form you should go for of any sort. It is unsure if of any sorts is correct.


I've heard of of any sort being used. However, I believe the phrase of any sorts is grammatically incorrect. Considering that any is a singular quantifier, it would be improper to use it with a plural word like sorts or kinds.

However, I believe it is correct to use the phrase of sorts in conjunction with the singular form of the primary object.

Using your example,

I started using it to document the system (we didn’t have documentations of any sorts) and create our regression tests.

I find this statement to have an error in the part marked in bold. I am therefore rewriting it using the proper format below.

I started using it to document the system (we didn't have documentations of any sort) and create our regression tests.

Another accurate way to say this would be:

I started using it to document the system (we didn't have ANY documentation of sorts) and create our regression tests.

  • 4
    The phrase of sorts is rarely used in negative sentences. It kinda has a different meaning. – Araucaria - Not here any more. May 28 '15 at 13:23
  • 1
    I appreciate your answer. However, I edited to take out the format. It is not the custom to use that format on this site, and it bothers a lot of people, and it is hard ro read for others. Please do not use it. – user6951 May 29 '15 at 0:39

I started using it to document the system (we didn’t have documentations of any sorts) and create our regression tests.

In this case, you should definitely use of any sort, which is correct (you could also use of any kind, or possibly of any type). You are effectively saying "We did not have documentation of even a single kind".

Although "sort" is sometimes found in the plural, it is in rather exceptional sorts of circumstance (like this one, where there are multiple types of circumstances). To say you had documentation of sorts is an idiomatic use of of sorts, meaning you had something that is barely documentation; this usage cannot be made negative, and doesn't work with "kinds" or "types".

You could probably get away with it with a definite article and relative clause:

We could not find clothes of any of the sorts sold elsewhere

Note also that in British and American English, documentation is an uncountable noun and should be left singular. I know some uncountable nouns in English become countable, e.g. Indian English "baggages", but I've not heard of it with documentation.

Therefore, you should write:

I started using it to document the system (we didn’t have documentation of any sort) and create our regression tests.


OALD's examples give us good information about it.

"What sort of music do you like?" ~ "Oh, all sorts!"

So, if we observe the example, it uses 'sort of' to talk about a particular type of music (say--rock). But then, the answer is all types (rock, classic, jazz, etc.).

If you read further...

This sort of problem is quite common./These sorts of problems are quite common.

I think replacing 'sort' with 'type' helps us identify the word.

Said that,

I started using it to document the system (we didn’t have documentations of any sorts type) and create our regression tests.

sounds better...

However, it's possible to use 'sorts' if you mean many different ones. OALD's example on the same page

There are all sorts of activities (= many different ones) for kids at the campsite.


Typically, the part marked in bold would be singular, but plural is apparently acceptable.

Taken from BBC Learning English:

Kinds, sorts, types and even varieties can all be used interchangeably, (although varieties may be used more in more scientific sorts of contexts, e.g. varieties of tomato) The first three are very common and can be used in singular and plural forms.

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