I am having an argument with the RFC-Editor. My co-author had written:

but some of them may be required in certain types of article.

and she changed it into
but some of them may be required in certain types of articles.

Q. Several times lately I've written or revised copy to change the word in the prepositional phrase following "kinds of" or "types of" to the singular from the plural"from "what kinds of cats"" "three types of errors" to "what kinds of cat," "three types of error." And several times a client has treated the resulting phrase like an error. I haven?t found the answer to this usage question in CMOS. What do you think?

A. Your client is right. According to Webster's, "kinds of" takes a plural if the relevant noun is countable. (Dictionaries are good for this kind of question.)
Do we believe this? And do we trust Webster?
Sadly, Fowler seems silent on the issue, but it seems totally wrong to me, certainly on this side of the pond.
So, can anyone find examples of either usage in well-known literature (and even better in well-known American literature)?

Charles H. Lindsey At Home, doing my own thing
1 2
At 15:58:25 on Tue, 21 Apr 2009, Charles Lindsey (Email Removed) wrote in (Email Removed):
Hi, Charles!
I am having an argument with the RFC-Editor.

Since this relates to an RFC, can we presume that the intention is that it should adhere to the rules of US English, rather than to those of Commonwealth English?
If the intention is to write the RFC in Commonwealth English, then both Webster and the Chicago Manual of Style are irrelevant; however, if it is intended to write it in US English, then this is not the appropriate newsgroup, and alt.usage.english/alt.english.usage would be better fitted to assist on the usage of US English.

Molly Mockford
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety - Benjamin Franklin (My Reply-To address *is* valid, though may not remain so for ever.)
[nq:2]I am having an argument with the RFC-Editor.
Since this relates to an RFC, can we presume that the intention is that it should adhere to the rules of US English, rather than to those of Commonwealth English?

No. The internet is international, and so is the IETF (and it even holds meetings outside of N. America just to enhance its image :-( ).

And the fact that the RFC-Editor actually sits looking out over all the boats in Marina-del-Rey does not of itself mean that US English is to be preferred. The RFC-Editor is just another publishing house and hence has a "house style" which is no more nor less stupid than any other publishing house (and they are notoriously stupid, in general).

So I repeat my question. Which usage is correct: "how many breeds of dog are there?" or "how many breeds of dogs are there?"? In English English, for a start, and preferably with quotations (of either form) from well-respected literature.

Charles H. Lindsey At Home, doing my own thing
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[nq:1]So I repeat my question. Which usage is correct: "how many breeds of dog are there?" or "how many breeds of dogs are there?"? In English English, for a start, and preferably with quotations (of either form) from well-respected literature.
Well to my ears the former sounds correct.
But in the absence of well- respected literature, I did a Google search for "kinds of" (including the quotes, to keep it as a phrase).

Surprisingly (to me), in the first several pages of results, countable nouns were pluralised, almost without exception.
Cheers
Tony

Tony Mountifield
So I repeat my question. Which usage is correct: "how many breeds of dog are there?" or "how many breeds of dogs are there?"

Well to my ears the former sounds correct.

And to mine, but I think there's a degree of distinction in British English that's been elided in America, where there seems to be an unbendable rule - if it's countable, it must be plural. Restricting the Google search to site:.uk shows that where the thing is countable, sometimes it's singular and sometimes plural. But one of the sites probably illustrates the nuance: 'Are there different kinds of stem cell?' It would be quite wrong in my view to write 'cells' there. It seems to depend on the particularity of the thing, which some syntactician may be able to pin down.

Noel
(Incidentally, one of the Google results led me to a page called 'Particular Kinds of Obligations':
http://www.russian-civil-code.com/PartII/SectionIV / with the most baffling advert at the top. It might still be there if you're quick.)
[nq:2]Well to my ears the former sounds correct.
And to mine, but I think there's a degree of distinction in British English that's been elided in America, where ... there. It seems to depend on the particularity of the thing, which some syntactician may be able to pin down.

So it seems to be an American practice - and a totally illogical practice at that.
A Dachshund is "a kind of dog". OK?
A Rotweiler is "a kind of dog". OK?
Now let us talk about Dachshunds and Rotweilers together. So we have "two kinds". OK?
So surely the plural of "a kind of dog" is "two kinds of dog".

But the Americans want that plural to be "two kinds of dogs". So do they also want the singular to be "a kind of dogs"?
Cross post to alt.usage.english added to see if anyone there can explain the anomaly.

Charles H. Lindsey At Home, doing my own thing
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[nq:2]And to mine, but I think there's a degree of ... thing, which some syntactician may be able to pin down.
So it seems to be an American practice - and a totally illogical practice at that. A Dachshund is "a ... So we have "two kinds". OK? So surely the plural of "a kind of dog" is "two kinds of dog".

Now bring in humans: You'd probably say "this kind/sort of man/woman" but would you say "these kinds/sorts of man/woman" or "these kinds/sorts of men/women"?
But the Americans want that plural to be "two kinds of dogs". So do they also want the singular to be "a kind of dogs"? Cross post to alt.usage.english added to see if anyone there can explain the anomaly.

So it is a bone, after all. Grr! ;-)

New Marmite(TM): Not as thick! Not as dark! Not as te!

David
No. The internet is international, and so is the IETF (and it even holds meetings outside of N. America just ... of dogs are there?"? In English English, for a start, and preferably with quotations (of either form) from well-respected literature.

The former. Because "dog" in this instance refers to the species canis familiaris not to any particular member of that species i.e. any particular dog, or dogs.
The question could equally well be expressed - "how many breeds of canis familiaris are there ?"
As there's only one species canis familiaris, there can only be one dog in this context.
Or put another way "dog" is being used in the abstract rather than in the particular sense. The same as one might ask "how many makes of car used to be made in Detroit ?" Rather than "how many makes of cars used to be made in Detroit ?"
michael adams
...
Since we are talking about English usage, I propose we take English itself as the model for the use of singular or plural when speaking of categories.

I know of US, Canadian, Australian and British English, to name but a few.

It would take a special kind of pedant to insist that we speak of these as 'kinds of Englishes'.

I have always used 'kinds of thing', and would never use 'kinds of things' unless I were to be paid linguitically interestingamounts of money - or should that be amounts of moneys? Emotion: smile
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