“He’s very sort of buffed.” Wha . . ? He can’t be very buffed and only sort of buffed at the same time. It’s an error to follow the phrase “very sort of” with an adjective (a quality, such as “rich,” “happy,” “conscientious”).

It’s all right to say “very sort of” when “very” means “exact, precise,” and the phrase is followed by an noun (a thing or person): “the very sort of pastry I can’t resist,” “the very sort of boss I can’t stand.”

Less common is the equally confused expression “very kind of” as in “he’s very kind of charming when he’s trying to impress women.”

Of course “very kind of” is fine in appreciative comments where “kind” is an adjective meaning “generous,” “helpful,” like “it was very kind of you to shovel Mrs. Mukherjee’s front walk.”

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