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Whenever I try to say something like ‘A type of car’, or ‘a type of food’, I end up saying

‘eine Art + nominative singular’ or

‘eine Art von nominative singular

but I’m not really sure about it. What is the correct way to say it?

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2  
I edited ein Art to eine Art, since the grammatical gender of Art is female and this is not the focus of your question. –  Wrzlprmft Apr 21 '13 at 8:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Both expressions are correct per se, but they have different meanings:

Ein Cabrio ist eine sportliche Art von Auto.

or

Ein Cabrio ist eine sportliche Autoart.

The statement here is that convertibles (Cabrios) are in fact cars (Autos) and a subcategory of cars.

But

"Fotografieren ist eine Art Meditation."

Here the word Art means "similar to" like the English "kind of." Sometimes the difference to "Art von" is not as clear and sometimes it's the same. It depends on the context.

You can use the word Art also in combination with a definite article, like in

Mir gefällt deine Art der Gesprächsführung.

Here Art means "the way" (in German die Weise).

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Art cannot mean "similar to" in written German. This would be very bad style. In spoken German, where exactness levels are lower, one might encounter this. –  Toscho Apr 21 '13 at 10:54
3  
@ Toscho: I tend to disagree. Of course, it is less common in written German since this kind of vagueness is not needed in written language that often, but it certainly is not very bad style (if used where appropriate). On DWDS you can find various examples from newspapers where the expression is used. –  Wrzlprmft Apr 21 '13 at 13:19
    
Praktisch würde man aber eher sagen Ein Cabrio ist ein sportliches Auto. Ganz schwach ist das von. Ein Cabrio ist eine sportliche Art Auto. einfach ohne von ist schon deutlich besser. Das Auto kam von links. –  user unknown Apr 21 '13 at 22:39

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