Understanding ‘That’s Mean’ vs ‘That Means’ in English

Marcus Froland

As you continue to improve your English language skills, mastering common phrases is essential for effective verbal communication. In this guide, we’ll explore the differences between the phrases “that’s mean” and “that means” and how to use them correctly in your everyday conversations. By paying close attention to these nuances in the English grammar, you can enhance your language proficiency and communicate more confidently.

Introduction to Common English Misunderstandings

English language misunderstandings are widespread, especially among non-native speakers. Often, these misunderstandings can be attributed to language nuances and not knowing how to speak English correctly. Since the English language is filled with homophones, idioms, and other unique linguistic traits, it can be challenging to determine the correct meaning in different contexts.

One such common misunderstanding arises from the phrases ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means.’ At first glance, these phrases may appear similar, but they convey entirely different meanings.

Phrases like ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ have distinct uses:

  • ‘That’s mean’ – Indicates an observation of meanness or rudeness
  • ‘That means’ – Used to provide an explanation or denote a consequence

Understanding the subtle differences between these phrases and the contexts in which they’re used can enhance your overall language proficiency and communication skills. Let’s explore some factors that contribute to common English misunderstandings.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain

Factors Contributing to English Misunderstandings

  1. Homophones: Words that sound similar but have different meanings and spellings (e.g., there, their, and they’re).
  2. Idioms: Expressions with meanings that cannot be deduced from the individual words (e.g., break a leg, raining cats and dogs).
  3. Colloquialisms: Informal expressions used in everyday language, which may be challenging to understand for non-native speakers (e.g., hit the hay, a piece of cake).
  4. Phrasal verbs: Verbs combined with prepositions or adverbs that create new meanings (e.g., give up, take off, turn down).
Type Examples
Homophones there, their, they’re
Idioms break a leg, raining cats and dogs
Colloquialisms hit the hay, a piece of cake
Phrasal verbs give up, take off, turn down

By familiarizing yourself with these aspects of the English language and their appropriate usage, you’ll improve your ability to communicate effectively and minimize misunderstandings. So, keep practicing and exploring the nuances of English to enhance your language skills and make your conversations smoother.

Dissecting ‘That’s Mean’: A Look at Mean Behavior

Mean behavior can manifest in various ways, such as unkind actions, linguistic expressions, and daily communication. ‘That’s mean’ is a phrase often employed to denote such instances of hurtful or ungenerous interactions. To further understand the implications and usage of this common phrase, let’s explore the different contexts where ‘That’s mean’ is used, along with real-life examples of its deployment in everyday conversations.

The Different Contexts Where ‘That’s Mean’ is Used

The phrase ‘That’s mean’ is primarily used to describe instances of unkind behavior or mean actions. This can encompass a wide range of feelings, from insensitivity or inconsiderateness to more malicious, mean-spirited conduct. Here are some common contexts where ‘That’s mean’ might be relevant:

  • Taunting or teasing: When someone engages in name-calling, poking fun at someone’s appearance, or any other hurtful commentary.
  • Bullying: Whether physical or emotional, bullying is a prime example of mean behavior and can lead to serious harm or ridicule.
  • Disrespectful language or actions: Acts of rudeness, such as talking down to someone, cutting them off during a conversation, or undermining their achievements or feelings.
  • Selfishness: Being unwilling to share, cooperate, or consider the needs and feelings of others, thereby demonstrating a lack of empathy.

Examples of ‘That’s Mean’ in Everyday Conversations

Real-life examples can illustrate the various contexts and situations where the phrase ‘That’s mean’ can be appropriately used. Below are a few scenarios to consider:

Friend 1: “Did you see what Emily is wearing today? She looks ridiculous in that outfit.”

Friend 2: “That’s mean! You shouldn’t talk about her like that.”

Parent: “Why did you take your sister’s toy without asking her first?”

Child: “I didn’t think she would mind.”

Parent: “That’s mean. You need to be more considerate of her feelings.”

Colleague 1: “I heard Mark is going through a tough time with his marriage.”

Colleague 2: “Well, maybe if he wasn’t always working late, he wouldn’t have these problems.”

Colleague 1: “That’s mean. You don’t know the whole story.”

Remember, words hold power, and understanding the various contexts and situations where the phrase ‘That’s mean’ is appropriately used can help promote empathy and kindness in daily communication.

The Explanation Behind ‘That Means’

The phrase ‘That means’ plays a crucial role in defining expressions, providing explanations, and facilitating language understanding. This versatile phrase can be used to explain the meaning of an event or piece of information, or to indicate the causation or consequence of a particular situation.

For instance, consider the following example:

“The judge ruled in favor of the plaintiff. That means they will be awarded compensation.”

In this example, ‘That means’ is used to provide an explanation of the judge’s decision and its consequences for the plaintiff.

Here’s another example:

“The president will be attending our conference next week. That means we need to prepare accordingly.”

Again, ‘That means’ is used to clarify that the president’s attendance at the event requires a certain level of preparation on the part of the organizers.

To better comprehend the various ways ‘That means’ can be employed, consider the following expressions with their respective explanations:

Expression Explanation
“It’s raining cats and dogs.” That means it is raining heavily.
“She got the promotion.” That means she will have more responsibilities and a higher salary.
“The movie received rave reviews.” That means it was praised by critics and audiences alike.
“The new policy goes into effect next month.” That means it will start being enforced from then on.

Understanding the phrase ‘That means’ is key to facilitating productive and accurate communication in English. By recognizing when and how to use it appropriately, you can ensure your message is effectively conveyed and easily understood by others.

Comparing ‘That’s Mean’ and ‘That Means’

In order to achieve communication clarity, it is essential to recognize the usage differences and distinctions in meaning between similar phrases in the English language, such as ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means.’ Understanding their grammatical structures, implications, and examples can help improve your English usage.

Identifying Differences in Usage

While both phrases may sound similar, their usage in correct English relies on the context of the sentence. ‘That’s mean’ serves as a contraction for ‘that is mean’, and the adjective ‘mean’ is used to describe actions or behavior that are unkind or rude. On the other hand, ‘That means’ employs ‘means’ as a verb to provide explanations or indicate the logical consequence of an event.

Remember: ‘That’s mean’ is used to comment on unkind behavior, while ‘That means’ offers clarification or introduces an explanation or result.

How the Distinctions Affect Meaning

Understanding the distinctions between ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ is crucial for conveying the intended meaning in your communication. When using ‘That’s mean,’ you are making an observation of someone’s mean or rude behavior. Conversely, ‘That means’ is utilized to give explanations, denote consequences, or define terms within a given context.

Clarifying with Example Sentences

Let’s take a look at some example phrases that illustrate the usage of both ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ in different scenarios:

  1. ‘That’s mean’: Sarah took Emily’s lunch without asking. That’s mean.
  2. ‘That means’: It’s snowing outside. That means we will have to reschedule our picnic.

From these examples, we can see that ‘That’s mean’ is used to reprimand Sarah for her unkind action, while ‘That means’ is employed to articulate the implications of the snowfall on the planned picnic.

‘That’s Mean’ ‘That Means’
Emma laughed at Sophie’s mistake. That’s mean. The road is closed for construction. That means we need to find an alternate route.
Jack refused to share his toys with his brother. That’s mean. The CEO is coming to our meeting. That means we have to be well-prepared.
Brian teased Mike about his hairstyle. That’s mean. The store has a 50% off sale today. That means it’s a good time to buy that jacket you wanted.

By examining these example sentences and understanding the distinctions between ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means,’ you can improve your communication clarity and the overall effectiveness of your English usage.

Grammatical Rules for ‘Mean’ and ‘Means’

Understanding the grammatical rules that govern the usage of ‘mean’ and ‘means’ is crucial for speaking and writing English correctly. The context determines which form of the word to use—whether as an adjective to describe behavior, or as a verb to introduce an explanation. Let’s explore the role of ‘mean’ and ‘means’ in different language structures.

To improve your English, it is vital to understand the grammatical rules that dictate the usage of ‘mean’ and ‘means.’

Mean is commonly used as an adjective when discussing a person’s behavior or actions. In the phrase ‘That’s mean,’ ‘mean’ describes behavior that is unkind or inconsiderate. It is not a verb in this context, but it functions as an adjective to express a particular quality or attribute of the subject.

On the other hand, means is the third person singular form of the verb ‘to mean.’ In the sentence ‘That means,’ the verb ‘means’ serves to explain the meaning behind an event, an action, or information. It is crucial to recognize that ‘means’ in this context is not an adjective but a verb.

Form Context Examples
Mean (adjective) Describing unkind or inconsiderate behavior Telling someone they’re dumb is mean.
Means (verb) Explaining the meaning of an event, action, or information Mary just got promoted, and that means she’ll have increased responsibilities.

By understanding the different grammatical roles of ‘mean’ and ‘means,’ you can better navigate language structure and improve your English proficiency. Always remember that ‘mean’ is an adjective when describing behavior, while ‘means’ is a verb when explaining the significance or implications of information or events.

Practice Scenarios: Applying ‘That’s Mean’ and ‘That Means’

Mastering the proper usage of ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ involves consistent language practice and exercises that let you apply these phrases in context. Below are some helpful scenarios that demonstrate the appropriate employment of these English phrases, contributing to a profound understanding and learning of language usage.

Jack: “I can’t believe Jessie told Maddie that her hair looked awful. I mean, who says that?”
Jane: “Yeah, that’s mean! Maddie was feeling happy with her new haircut just before Jessie commented.”

In this situation, ‘That’s mean’ is used to call out Jessie’s insensitive and unkind behavior.

Scenario 2: Movie Night’s Consequence

Peter: “We ended up watching movies until midnight.”
Samantha: “So, that means you’re both going to be tired at work today.”

Here, ‘That means’ is employed to describe the logical outcome of Peter and Samantha’s action—not getting enough sleep the night before.

Scenario 3: Ice Cream Sharing

George: “Jessica was going to share her ice cream with Sarah, but she changed her mind just because Sarah didn’t let her play with her toy.”
Ashley: “Wow, that’s mean! Jessica shouldn’t be so petty.”

In this example, ‘That’s mean’ is used to criticize Jessica’s petty and unkind behavior.

Scenario 4: Weather Forecast

Kim: “The weather forecast predicts heavy rain for the whole day.”
Mary: “That means we will have to postpone our picnic.”

‘That means’ is used in this context to explain the outcome of the weather forecast, which impacts Kim and Mary’s plans.

Scenario Phrase Example
1. Jessie’s Unkind Comment That’s mean That’s mean! Maddie was feeling happy with her new haircut just before Jessie commented.
2. Movie Night’s Consequence That means That means you’re both going to be tired at work today.
3. Ice Cream Sharing That’s mean Wow, that’s mean! Jessica shouldn’t be so petty.
4. Weather Forecast That means That means we will have to postpone our picnic.

By incorporating these scenarios and examples into your language practice exercises, you’ll become proficient at applying English phrases like ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ in everyday conversations. With time and practice, you can confidently use these phrases in context, demonstrating a profound understanding of learning language usage.

Common Mistakes to Avoid with ‘That’s Mean’ and ‘That Means’

Mastering the English language can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding similar phrases with different meanings, such as ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means.’ By being aware of potential pitfalls, you can effectively navigate through tricky English situations and improve your communication skills. Let’s explore some common mistakes along with helpful tips to avoid them.

Tricky Situations and How to Navigate Them

One of the most common mistakes is using ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ interchangeably. Remember that ‘That’s mean’ should be used in situations where you want to comment on unkind or rude behavior. Conversely, ‘That means’ is employed when explaining a particular meaning or consequence of an event. To help you distinguish between the two, consider these tips:

  1. Reflect on the context of the sentence – pay attention to whether you’re describing behavior or explaining a result.
  2. Consider the syntax – ‘That’s mean’ usually stands alone as a statement, while ‘That means’ often precedes an explanation or consequence.
  3. Practice using both phrases in various scenarios to gain confidence and improve your understanding of their appropriate usage.

Another common mistake is neglecting to maintain the correct conjugation of verbs when constructing sentences. Keep in mind that ‘mean’ is an adjective in the phrase ‘That’s mean,’ while ‘means’ is a present tense verb in ‘That means.’ Ensure your grammar is consistent within each sentence to convey the correct meaning.

“That’s mean” – Commenting on rude or unkind behavior
“That means” – Providing an explanation or indicating a logical outcome

Finally, always proofread your writing to catch any overlooked mistakes. By revisiting your work, you can identify errors and improve overall clarity, thereby avoiding potential misunderstandings in your communication.

Mistake Tips to Avoid
Using ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ interchangeably Be mindful of context, syntax, and practice using both phrases
Incorrect verb conjugation Maintain consistency in verb forms for both phrases
Overlooking errors and miscommunication Always proofread and revise your writing

By implementing these communication tips and paying close attention to the context and grammar of your sentences, you’re well on your way to avoiding language errors and enhancing your English proficiency. Stay true to the distinct meanings and usage of ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means,’ and you’ll find yourself navigating tricky English situations with ease.

Conclusion: Enhancing Clarity in Your English Usage

As we’ve explored in this article, improving English and achieving language clarity is vital for effective communication. Mastering the difference between ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ is an essential step towards understanding and using English correctly. By thoroughly recognizing the nuances of these phrases, you can convey your thoughts more accurately and avoid potential misunderstandings with your audience.

Remember, ‘That’s mean’ refers to unkind or insensitive behavior, while ‘That means’ is used to provide explanations or denote the consequences of an event. By considering the context in which you use these phrases, you can make conscious decisions about which expression is appropriate for the situation. This awareness will significantly enhance the quality of your communication, allowing you to express your ideas more accurately and with greater confidence.

In conclusion, mastering the subtleties of the English language is an ongoing process that involves practice and learning from real-life scenarios. By being mindful of the distinctions between ‘That’s mean’ and ‘That means’ and other commonly confused phrases, you can ensure that your English usage is clear, precise, and effective in engaging your audience.