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sort vs art

both mean 'type' right? What is the difference though??

April 4, 2018



Just like the English word "type" the German words "Sorte" and "Art" have a number of meanings. You would use "Sorte" and not "Art" when talking about flavors of ice-cream, and "Art" and not "Sorte" when taking about "way / manner". You might want to consult a good dictionary, there are even more ways to translate "type".

Don't forget to capitalize nouns. My first thought when reading your question was "these are not German words".


Thanks for the tip!


"die Sorte": e.g. for types of tomatoes (biologically), ice cream (flavour). Cf. "sortieren" = "to sort" into "categories", e.g. to sort waste by type (paper, glass, metal, plastic), or to sort screws by size.

If "Sorte" is used to say e.g. "Das ist die Sorte von Mensch, der..." ("That's the sort of person who..."), it's an anglicism and, as of now, wrong usage. "Das ist die Art von Mensch" would be correct.

"die Art": e.g. "Es ist eine Art Zirkus" ("It [= the event/show] is a kind of circus, it's kind of like a circus"), "Ich wohne in einer Art Baumhaus" ("I live in something like a tree house / what you might call a tree house"), "Was für eine Art [von] Doktor sind Sie?" ("What kind/sort of doctor (university degree, i.e., medicine, law, philosophy) are you?"). Biologically, "Art" = "species".

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