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|"Kind" of "Sort" of
Written by Barbara
(9/17/2009 3:22 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A reasonable point, but, penned by JoAnn
I find that when Jane Austen has a character use the words 'sort of' of 'kind of' in qualifying a description of him or her, it often means that they either really don't care much about what the person is like, one way or the other, or they really don't know much about the person at all, but are trying to make it seem as though they do.
In most of these cases, the speaker or thinker is in almost total ignorance of the person they are describing, or they don't care anything about the person they are describing and the qualifier 'sort of' or 'kind of' is a clue. This is not to say that their is any animosity towards the person being described, but perhaps their personal qualities have never been considered before, or the describer just simply doesn't have any idea and doesn't know what else to say.
So, when Sir John says that "As good a kind of fellow as ever lived, I assure you," it makes me think of all these others who are kind of/sort of described, but not.
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