English as a Second Language/Kind (nounn)


Dear Sir,

I read this quote and was surprised at the use of a plural verb (are) with a singular noun (kind. The subject of the sentence is "the best kind", not "people".

“The best kind of people are the ones that come into your life, and make you see the sun where you once saw clouds. The people that believe in you so much, you start to believe in you too. The people that love you, simply for being you. The once in a lifetime kind of people.”

Please send me your guideline.

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Hi Antoine!

Sorry for the late reply!

That's a very interesting question!  At first glance, it seems that since kind is singular, the verb ought to be singular as well.  So, if we were to follow the standard rule, "the best kind" should be followed by "is".  In fact, in many situations this is the case: "The best kind of ice cream is..." or "the best kind of place is..."

However, in this particular case, "kind" is what's called a "collective" noun, in that it actually represents a GROUP (like a team or a band).  What this means is, it is actually a third person PLURAL noun, even though it only refers to one group.  The third person plural (they) is followed by are.  For instance, when referring to a band, we don't use the pronoun "it", we use the pronoun "they":

Ex: Have you heard this new band?  They are great!

By the same token, "the kind of people" refers to more than one person, so it is followed by "are" rather than "is."

Hope that helps!

English as a Second Language

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Brian Connelly


I can answer pretty much any question a student might have about English; about grammar, vocabulary, meanings of words, phrases, expressions or idioms, pronunciation, etc. I can answer questions about how to learn or study English better, how to improve certain aspects of communication (listening, writing, speaking, etc), about why we have certain rules.


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