'That's Mean' vs 'That Means': What's the Difference?

By Amy Gilmore, updated on May 5, 2023

Are you unsure of the difference between 'that's mean' vs. 'that means?' I can help!

In this guide, I cover the differences and how to use them.

Are you in a hurry? 

If so, here is a quick answer:

  • 'That's mean' means that something is mean or unkind. 
  • 'That means' is an explanation of a word or phrase. 
  • 'That means' can also indicate that something will happen due to another event. 

To learn more about these two common phrases, read this entire post. You will find definitions, usage tips, and example sentences in it. So, when you finish reading it, you will be an expert on the difference between 'that's mean' and 'that means.'

What's the Difference Between 'That's Mean' vs 'That Means'

Both of these phrases utilize the same words, but they have different meanings. The first term contains 'that's,' a contraction created by combining that and is. So the phrase is actually 'that is mean.' The second uses 'means,' which you use to indicate an explanation.

How to Use 'That's Mean' vs. 'That Means'

'That's mean' and 'that means' sound similar. So, it can be challenging for non-native English speakers to determine the difference in the meanings.

So, how do you know which to use and when?

Use 'that's mean' to say:

  • Someone or something is or was unkind.

For example, you might say something like:

'That's mean' you should never say anything you would not want someone to say to you. 

Use 'that means' to:

  • Explain something.

For example, you might hear:

'That means' the judge decided there was no probable cause to hold the defendant on the charges. 

You can also use 'that means' to say:

  • Something must happen because another event is occurring.

For example, I might use the term to say:

The president is attending the event. 'That means,' we must ensure everything goes off without a hitch.

Definition of 'That's Mean': What Does 'That's Mean' Mean?

In this phrase, there are two words, 'that's' an 'mean.' 'That's' means 'that is.' And, in this example, 'mean' is an adjective that describes 'that' and means:

  • Unkind or insensitive

It can also mean:

  • Unwilling to share
  • Not generous
  • Inconsiderate of others

Similar and Related Phrases

  • That's rude
  • That's not nice
  • If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all
  • Not cool
  • Uncool
  • That's unnecessary
  • That's hurtful
  • You're mean
  • You're wrong
  • You're rude
  • Keep it to yourself
  • Your comments are not welcome

Definition of 'That Means'

In the context of the second phrase, 'that' refers to some piece of information or an event, and 'means' is defined as a system or action that brings something about or the meaning of something.

So, 'that means' is defined as:

  • Something that causes something else to occur

It can also mean:

  • Defined as
  • Given that
  • Because of that

Related and Similar Phrases

  • It implies
  • It means
  • The explanation is
  • Due to that
  • In respect to
  • That means the world to me
  • Plan accordingly
  • Make arrangements
  • Be prepared
  • So you know
  • For your information (FYI)
  • In regards to
  • Be aware
  • In light of
  • After the recent revelation

Pronunciation of 'That's Mean' and 'That Means'

Now that you know the difference between these two terms and how to use them, are you wondering how to pronounce them?

Here is a quick guide:

  • You use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'that's mean':

                   THAETS MEEN

  • To pronounce, 'that means,' use this phonetic spelling:


Examples of 'That's Mean' or 'That Means' in a Sentence

You should have a firm grasp on how to use 'that's mean' or 'that means' now. However, before you go, look at the example sentences below.

That's Mean

  • We laughed when she started stuttering during her presentation, but that's mean. You should never make fun of others when they put themselves out there.
  • I can't believe you said that to her. That's mean and unnecessary.
  • You must be off your rocker. You know that's mean. So, why would you do it?
  • Do you understand that's mean? Those comments have no place here. We are a supportive team that respects other people's differences.
  • That's mean. I don't care to hear what Barrington had to say.
  • When the kindergarten teacher heard what they were saying, she told the class, 'That's mean, if you do not have anything nice to say, please do not say anything at all.
  • That's mean, and I hope you keep comments like that to yourself in the future.

That Means

  • We won our last game. That means we are going to the state finals!!!
  • The research showed that 9 out of 10 people responded well to the treatment. That means we may be on the brink of a scientific breakthrough.
  • The economy is unstable. That means you should transfer your assets into safer investments, especially if you plan to retire soon.
  • The price of food and other consumer goods is high. That means we need to save the money we typically spend on non-essential items.
  • Are you a Gemini? That mean's your birthday must be at the end of May or during the first half of June.
  • If you get the promotion, that means you will likely receive a pay increase.
  • That means you can finally go on vacation and buy a new car.

Final Advice on The Difference Between 'That's Mean' vs. 'That Means'

Thank you for reading this entire guide. You should thoroughly understand the difference between 'that's mean' vs. 'that means.' But, just to be sure, here is a quick recap: 

  • 'That's mean' is a term people use to tell someone a statement or action is or was unkind or harsh.
  • 'That means' indicates that you will give an explanation or excuse for something.

While you likely know how to define these two terms, you can always return here for a review if you get stuck. You can also read the other guides here to learn about other confusing words and phrases.

Brushing up on common English terms is a great way to expand your vocabulary and learn how to use phrases properly. So, come back often!

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Written By:
Amy Gilmore
Amy Gilmore is one of the lead freelance writers for WritingTips.org. She has been a professional writer and editor for the past eight years. She developed a love of language arts and literature in school and decided to become a professional freelance writer after a demanding career in real estate. Amy is constantly learning to become a better writer and loves sharing tips with other writers who want to do the same.

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