the use of sort

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Anonymous

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Dear English experts,

I need your expertise to see which of the following sentences is correct :-

They sort of complement each other OR

They are a sort of complementing each other

OR

They are a sort of complementing to each other
 

Casiopea

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1. They sort of complement each other. (OK)

2. They are a sort of complementing each other. (Not OK)

3. They are a sort of complementing to each other. (Not OK)

All the best,
 

MikeNewYork

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Learner said:
Dear English experts,

I need your expertise to see which of the following sentences is correct :-

They sort of complement each other OR

They are a sort of complementing each other

OR

They are a sort of complementing to each other

The usage changes with the indefinite article "a". An article is only used before a noun. Thus, "a sort of" is different from "sort of", the latter being an adverb, meaning somewhat, not completely.

This is from the AHD:

kind of

Also, sort of. Rather, somewhat, as in I'm kind of hungry, or The bird looked sort of like a sparrow. [Colloquial; c. 1800] This usage should not be confused with a kind of or a sort of, which are much older and refer to a borderline member of a given category (as in a kind of a shelter or a sort of a bluish color). Shakespeare had this usage in Two Gentlemen of Verona (3:1): “My master is a kind of a knave.” Also see of a kind.


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The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


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