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Hi,
from Longman Dict. of Contemporary English: a kind of (a) something - used to say that your description of something is not exact.

Can I say...
Mark's car is a kind of Ferrari F40, but I don't know what it is exactly. (It's not even a Ferrari, maybe)
Mark's car is a kind of a Ferrari F40, but I don't know what it is exactly. (It's not even a Ferrari, maybe)

If both are ok, when someone says...
I like Mark's car. It's a kind of Ferrari.
... do they mean it's a a Ferrari (a type of Ferrari) or that it's similar to a Ferrari but may be something else?

Thank you.
Emotion: smile

Comments  
when someone says...
I like Mark's car. It's a kind of Ferrari.
... do they mean it's a a Ferrari (a type of Ferrari) or that it's similar to a Ferrari but may be something else?
When I hear them, they mean a type of Ferrari. If I want to use some very informal expression meaning "similar to a Ferrari but it could be something else", I say It's kind of like a Ferrari. (kina lika F...)

CJ
Thanks a lot, I like that "kinda like".

As for "kind of", do you think we can't use it that way just because "Ferrari" is too specific? Examples:

It's a kind of Ferrari... (kind = type) --- It's a Ferrari, it's not just something similar to a Ferrari. Ferrari is a brand name, it's too specific.
It's a kind of car... --- It could also be something similar to a car, some strange vehicle. Car is more generic than Ferrari.
It's a kind of house... --- Same as the previous example, "house is generic, this sentence could be used to describe something similar to a house.
It's a kind of egg... --- Same as above, "egg" is generic, this sentence could be used to describe something similar to an egg, for example something shaped like an egg.

Does that make sense a little? Otherwise, it'll be too confusing I think...
Thanks. Emotion: smile
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As for "kind of", do you think we can't use it that way just because "Ferrari" is too specific?
No. I don't think the level of specificity or generality has anything to do with it. I take "kind of" literally unless it is followed by "like".

I don't accept, for example, any of the following as sensible remarks.

A bus is a kind of car.
A movie is a kind of opera.
A giraffe is a kind of horse.
A computer is a kind of typewriter.
A vacuum cleaner is a kind of broom.
A whale is a kind of fish.
A camera is a kind of eye.

Adding a doesn't seem to help. This isn't a turn of phrase that I personally use.

A bus is a kind of a car.
A movie is a kind of an opera.

Etc.

And I do accept the following as sensible.

A penguin is a kind of bird.
A Ferrari is a kind of car.
A whale is a kind of mammal.
A motel is a kind of hotel.
A biography is a kind of literature.


In short, I believe I'd have to say that I disagree with the definition you presented in the original post!

CJ
Thanks.

So, you wouldn't say either of these are ok, would you?

EnglishForward is a kind of huge classroom where every day thousands of students try to improve their English. (Notice this is not really a classroom)
The shape of a human head is a kind of egg. (Notice it's shaped like an egg, but it's not an egg)

Thank you.
Emotion: smile
You are confusing 'a kind of' with 'kind of like a'. These two phrases mean different things.

A kind of - a subsect or example of a group. A robin is a kind of bird.

Kind of like a - somewhat similar to - A robin is kind of like a sparrow, but with a red chest. In this phrase 'kind of' = I agree 90% with what follows, I agree slightly, almost. Example: mum says 'have you tidied your bedroom?' Kid says 'kind of'. Mum then knows that a tiny bit of effort has been made but the room is still a mess. Then 'like a'= similar to.

EnglishForward is a kind of huge classroom where.... this sentence is ok because actually, EnglishForward is sort of a type of giant online classroom. You couldn't say that EnglishForward is a kind of boarding school, because there the difference is too great, it clearly is not a boarding school. But it has teachers, and learners, all meeting together in one place, so classroom seems fine.

The shape of a human head is kind of like the shape of an egg (similar to the shape of an egg).
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Hi,
Nona The BritYou are confusing 'a kind of' with 'kind of like a'. These two phrases mean different things.

yes, I'm definitely confusing those two! I felt I could be using those expressions incorrectly, so I asked here. Well, I think I just corrected another mistake in my English then!
Thank you for helping me understand English better. Emotion: smile
beutifull like a fery

When I write a letter about someone e.g.

Dear John

re: Bill Smith

Should the 'r' in the word 're' (as a shortened form of 'regarding' be a capital R or just a small-case r?

Thanks.

Riordan Saunders

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