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My literary pet peeve lately has been the use of “some kind of”. Here is an example from the X-Files:

“What is that?”
“It appears to be some kind of storage facility.”

The reason its annoying is because it pompously suggests that the speaker is very knowledgeable when it comes to storage facilities. So knowledgeable in fact, that they know lots of different kinds of them, but in this case, is unable to determine which kind it is.

How about “It looks like a storage facility.” It might not have that X-Files flair, but at least you won’t sound like something you aren’t.

Here are some other examples:

  1. “I think we’re in some kind of cave.”
  2. “Is this some kind of ban?”
  3. “It must be some kind of joke.”

There are a few acceptable uses of “some kind of”. For example, when you clearly are acquainted with the subject, and yet its identity still eludes you, as in this exchange:

“What’s for hot lunch today?”
“I don’t know, some kind of meat.”