Sort Of – Usage, Meaning & Examples

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The ever-changing English language is full of terms and expressions that can be confusing for non-native speakers or, heck, even native speakers sometimes. One expression, in particular, is “sort of.” You’ll hear this phrase commonly used in more relaxed settings, and it can have different meanings depending on the context being used. So, to straighten out the details, I’ll tell you all the deets you need to know about the phrase “sort of.”

“Sort Of” Meaning

Sort Of Usage Meaning Examples

“Sort of” is almost always used to show a level of uncertainty or approximation. You can use it to express your opinion that’s not yet fully formed or if you want to describe something that’s not exactly what was expected.

  • I’m sort of thinking of going.
  • I sort of like spaghetti.

Is It “Sort Of” or “Sort Have”?

The correct phrase you should use is “sort of.” “Sort have” isn’t even a correct expression in English.

Is “Sort Of” Hyphenated?

No, “sort of” is not meant to be hyphenated. So, if you find yourself wondering if it’s sort-of or sort of, always spell it as two separate words.

Does “Sort Of” Need Commas Around It?

Whether or not you use commas around “sort of” depends wholly on the sentence’s structure and context.

Generally, if “sort of” appears in the middle of a sentence, you don’t need to use commas around it. But, if it’s used at the beginning or end of a sentence, the use of commas can be helpful to separate it from the rest of the sentence.

  • “Sort of, but not really; I think he likes her.”

What’s the Difference Between “Sort Of” and “Type Of”?

“Sort of” and “type of” are similar in their basic meanings, but there are subtle differences I should point out.

“Type of” comes across as more specific, and we use it to describe a certain kind or category of something.

Some say they’re synonyms of each other, and you could get away with it, but it’s not technically correct.

  • What type of books do you like to read?

Then, “sort of” describes something that’s not exactly what was expected or you’re unsure of.

  • I sort of like that movie, but it’s not my favorite. The book was much better.

Synonyms for Sort Of

  • Somewhat
  • Kind of
  • Slightly
  • Remotely
  • Moderately
  • Relatively

“Sort Of” Examples in a Sentence

Sort Of Usage Meaning Examples 1
  • I’m sort of hungry, but I don’t want to eat yet because we’re going out for dinner in a couple of hours.
  • My dog is sort of shy around new people.
  • Can you tell us a sort of time to be there?
  • The party was sort of boring, but I still had a good time.
  • Amy sort of looks like her sister, but not exactly; I can see the differences.
  • Fantasy romance is sort of like Fantasy, but Romance is the main theme.
  • Can you give me a sort of price on this item?
  • I sort of understand what you’re saying, but can you explain it again?

We’re Sort of Done

You get it now, right? Sort of? (hee hee). The term is very similar to the word “somewhat” and can be used much in the same way. So, just remember, use “sort of” if you’re just unsure of how you feel about something or when one thing isn’t quite different enough from the next.