“There are all types of people in the world.” So claims an author I’ve been editing. Sounds like a truism, right?
No there’s not.
To say there is sounds as though there’s some master catalog of types, and that someone has checked to be sure there is at least one of each.
There are exactly as many types of people in the world at any given moment as there are people because no two are the same.
But the next time someone is born, it will be someone of a type that has never existed before, meaning that before he was born, there were not all types of people in the world.
Unless you start defining types with generalizations and grouping people into them, in which case someone could easily devise a type that no one matches, never did, and ever will, once again making the statement “There are all types of people in the world” false.
I’ll define a type of people right now: People with five heads and seven arms. I’ll bet there’s never been anyone of that type, and hope there never will be. But if there hasn’t ever been, then it’s still a fact that there are not all types of people in the world.
Two obvious lessons to be derived from this facetious exercise are: (1) all is a mighty big word; (2) vague generalities are often meaningless.