Learn English – the difference between a “category” and a “type”


Is there a difference between the terms category and type? I can't seem to figure out when I should use one over the other.

Best Answer

"Category" and "type" are largely synonymous with regards to their similar meanings. ("Type" obviously has a few other uses.)

The only real difference between the two is that a category feels more like a bucket or classification: Things are filed or stored away in categories. A type is more akin to a label or identification.

My type of man is tall, dark and handsome.

Place this in the loser category.

In both of these examples, you could not switch the words out for the other. This isn't so much a grammatical requirement; people just don't do it.

Also of note, the terms have become absorbed by Computer Science and Mathematics with very specific meanings and purposes. For more information, see the relevant Wikipedia pages for Type and Category.