Reader question: What's the definition of "of sorts"?
If you keep a diary, you may be called a writer of sorts. You may never get published, but you write everyday and that is what a writer does, sort of.
That's my explanation. Call it my definition if you will, such as it is.
This week's edition of The Economist (August 25-31, 2007) runs a cover story of Russia. Titled Putin's People, it says "the former KGB men who run Russia have the wrong idea about how to make it great". In it there's this passage:
But the new elite also has an ideology of sorts. They see the break-up of the Soviet Union as, in Mr Putin's words, the "greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century. Capitalizing on a widespread sense that Russia has been humiliated, they want to create as mighty a state as the Soviet Union once was. They see the West as a foe bent on stopping them.
That's The Economist's view of Putin and his men. Slanted, I'm sure but the sentences help our understanding of "of sorts". You can see that The Economist doesn't think much of the so-called "ideology" of the current lodgers at the Kremlin.
In the following article about soccer supporters (Football Fans Are Idiots, Guardian, September 2, 2005), Sean Ingle opines that "football is pricier, more uncompetitive and less atmospheric than ever." The article says, in part:
The atmosphere's become rubbish too. Go to a match 15 or more years ago, and by 2.30pm the terraces would reverberate with a Spector-esque wall of sound. Even if the game was dire, the chants and terrace witticisms would turn it into a spectacle of sorts - albeit one where hooliganism was rife.
That means the writer much preferred the loud and loutish atmosphere of the football ground of yesteryear, hooliganism notwithstanding – even though the occasion might not deserve being called "a spectacle", which, in its proper sense, is a very impressive show or scene involving nothing negative.
That shall do it. Learning from these examples, I'm sure you'll be able to get the hang of the term.