AEE 628: How to Use “Kind of,” “Sort of,” and “Pretty Much” in English

how-to-use-kind-of-sort-of-and-pretty-much-in-englishDo you know how to say something when you’re not 100% sure about what you’re saying?

Today you’ll find out how to use “kind of,” “sort of,” “pretty,” and “pretty much” to show uncertainty in English.

Here is the question from our listener:

“Hi Lindsay! Hi Michelle!

Your fun, exciting and helpful talks made me a big fan of AEE Podcasts. I’ve been learning a lot with you. Thanks a million!

I would like to ask you a question. I’d appreciate it if you could explain the usage of the expressions “pretty (much)”, “kind of” and “sort of”. Do they have the same meaning and can be used at the same contexts? I’d love to learn about that in the interesting and instructive way you guys are teaching English. Keep up this awesome job! All the best!” –  José Lourenço.

 

To answer your first question:

Yes, they have basically the same meaning. They all mean “not completely” and they are used to show that you aren’t totally sure about something.

They are all used in very similar contexts.

There is a slight construction difference between “pretty much” and “kind of”/”sort of.”

 

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These three expressions are used to show: 

  • Uncertainty
  • Vagueness- when you don’t want someone to be nosy
  • Overall summing something up (only with “pretty much”)

 

Pretty much is used more often used alone as a two-word response when you want to agree and say “Basically, yes”:

A: So I heard you work about 12 hours per day at your new job?

B: Yeah pretty much.

OR

A: So are you done with your midterm papers?

B: Pretty much. I just need to read through them once more and email them off to my professor.

 

The word“pretty” is used as an adverb to modify the adjective.

A: Hey I heard the Patriots are pretty strong this year.

B: This year? They are super strong every year.

 

Sort of/kind of:

Click here to get the transcripts to see these expressions used in a role play!

 

What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

 

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