See title. What's the difference between these terms? Thanks in advance!


1 Answer 1


They can all be translated into English as variety or type. Their differences are:

  • 種類
    • Has a slight emphasis on the differences between compared things, and it is slightly more often used to construct categories to sort different objects into.
    • Also occasionally used as a synonym for 種族 (race or ethnicity) in older texts (pre-Qing).
    • Example from Pleco: 不同種類的刀具 (different kinds of knives)
  • 類型
    • Has a slight emphasis on the similarities between compared things, and it is slightly more often used to group things which share similar properties into the same category.
    • Sometimes used as a word to categorise tropes, imagery, or genres in the field of literature.
    • Is a term imported from Wasei-kango.
    • Example sentence: 魯迅 《偽自由書ㆍ前記》: “然而我的壞處, 是在論時事不留面子, 砭錮弊常取類型, 而後者尤與時宜不合。” (Lu Xun: "My problem is that I don't spare any sensibilities when discussing current affairs, and often use literary tropes when criticising harmful traditions; the latter may be extremely inappropriate in contemporary society.")
  • 品種
    • Very often used in the field of biology for the meaning animal breed, species, bacterial strain.
    • Otherwise used to describe the assortment variety of products e.g. in a shop.

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