What "the first of its kind" mean?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Camlearner, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. Camlearner Senior Member


    What "the first of its kind" mean? To me, I feel like the book never publish before and is the first book on earth? But please confirm my correct understanding. Thank you.

    The book, the first of its kind, offers a comprehensive overview of local development trends in Cambodia.
  2. owlman5

    owlman5 Senior Member

    It's not the "first book on Earth", Camlearner, but the writer tells us that it is the first book ever written that talks about development trends in Cambodia in exactly this way. If I write a history about something that no one else has ever written about before, then I can call it "the first history of its kind".
  3. Camlearner Senior Member

    So I am correct by never publish before and I am wrong by the first book on earth ;)

    Thank you owlman5.

    Oh and can I say he is a man of his kind you are a man of your kind to mean no one the same you..?
  4. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    I'd say it doesn't work to transpose that first structure onto your next examples because there can, logically, be only one he or one you (as these pronouns are used to refer to specific individuals) whereas the number of different kinds of books (here books means written works such as novels, technical manuals, and dictionaries) are numerous; the exact number depends on how finely we distinguish one kind from another. But there is a similar idiom, one of a kind, which can be used to express uniqueness in the way you seem to want: You are one of a kind. He is one of a kind. (Ref.)
  5. Camlearner Senior Member

    Thank you EStjarn

    OK so we can't say : you are a man of your kind.
    But we can say : You are one of a kind. I check your source ref. and so let me just make it clear simple that You are one of a kind = you are an extraordinary person (the explainatino from the source) = you are special or = No one like you. oh and then my question continue to ask whether this You are one of a kind has good or bad meaning when we speak it?
  6. EStjarn

    EStjarn Senior Member

    I believe it can be both. Context tells whether it's a way of expressing appreciation or criticism or a rather neutral sentiment. For example: 1) In a game of football, when your friend scores in the last minute to win the game for your team, you might say to him, You're one of a kind! 2) A writer whose writing style is very odd might be referred to - either critically or neutrally or affirmatively depending on your feelings - as one of a kind.

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