Meaning of “that” in the English Dictionary

"that" in British English

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uk /ðæt/ us /ðæt/ plural those

A1 used to refer to a person, object, idea, etc. that is separated from the speaker by space or time:

I've never liked that cousin of hers.
Who's that? Is that the girl you told me about?
How much are those shoes?
formal His handwriting is like that (= the writing) of a much younger child.

A1 used to refer to something that has been mentioned or was involved earlier, or to something that is already known about:

Where's that pen (= the one I was using earlier) gone?
She lives in that house at the end of Jeremy's street (= you know which one I mean).

More examples

  • I closed that bank account when I came to London.
  • Don't get too close to that dog, Rosie.
  • They frequently hold conferences at that hotel.
  • I'm a bit confused. Was that her husband or her son she was with?
  • What's that concrete and metal construction over there?


uk strong /ðæt/ weak /ðət/ us strong /ðæt/ weak /ðət/

A2 used to introduce a clause that reports something or gives further information, although it can often be left out:

She said (that) she'd pick it up for me after work.
Is it true (that) she's gone back to teaching?
We'll be there at about 7.30, provided/providing (that) there's not too much traffic.
It was so dark (that) I couldn't see anything.

More examples

  • The water in the lake is so clear that you can see the bottom.
  • It was predicted that a comet would collide with one of the planets.
  • She confessed to her husband that she had sold her wedding ring.
  • I'm sorry that I wasn't able to phone you yesterday.
  • The light was so bright that I had to cover my eyes.



uk strong /ðæt/ weak /ðət/ us strong /ðæt/ weak /ðət/ plural those

that pronoun (USED TO REFER)

B1 used as the subject or object of a verb to show which person or thing you are referring to, or to add information about a person or thing just mentioned. It is used for both people and things. It can often be left out:

I can't find the books (that) I got from the library.
Is this the train that goes to Braintree?
Have you been to the restaurant that's just opened in town?

More examples

  • The letters that people wrote after his death gave me a lot of comfort.
  • He was sent to prison for a crime that he didn't commit.
  • Where's the cord that ties back the curtains?
  • The work that the students do during the year will count towards their final degrees.
  • The yogurt that you bought was really nice - where did you get it?


A2 used to make a connection with an earlier statement:

My car broke down. That's why I'm so late.
Lucy worked out how to fix it. That's Lucy for you (= She can fix anything).

B2 used to express a reaction to something:

I didn't know she'd been so ill. That's terrible.
Turn the engine on, then put the car in gear. That's right (= you are doing it correctly).
Smile for the camera. That's more like it (= that smile is better than before).

More examples

  • Charles had told her off. That's why she was so upset.
  • "Jim didn't even turn up." "That's Jim for you."



uk /ðæt/ us /ðæt/

(Definition of “that” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"that" in American English

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thatpronoun, adjective [ not gradable ]

us /ðæt, ðət/ plural those /ðoʊz/

that pronoun, adjective [ not gradable ] (SOMETHING NOT HERE)

used to refer to a person, object, event, etc., separated from the speaker by distance or time, or to something that has been referred to before, or to point to a particular thing:

This peach isn’t ripe – can I have that one (= the one farther away) on the table?
Put that box (= the particular box referred to) down before you drop it.
Where’s that pen (= the one I was using earlier)?
If she could play like that (= the way she is now playing) every day, she’d be a star.
She called him an imbecile, and at that (= immediately after that) he stormed out of the room.

That is also used to make a connection with an earlier statement:

My usual train was canceled. That’s why I’m late.
I didn’t know she’d been so ill. That’s terrible.
that is

You say that is when you want to give further details or be more exact about something:

I should be there by seven, that is, unless there’s a lot of traffic.


us /ðæt, ðət/

that conjunction (INTRODUCING A CLAUSE)

used to introduce a clause reporting something or giving further information, although it can often be omitted:

She said (that) she’d pick up Michael after work.
It’s possible (that) there’ll be a job opening in a few weeks.
It was so dark (that) I couldn’t see anything.


us /ðæt, ðət/

that pronoun (USED TO REFER)

used to show what particular thing is being referred to:

Have you been to the new restaurant that just opened?
That’s the guy I was talking about.

thatadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ðæt, ðət/

that adverb [ not gradable ] (AS MUCH)

as much as suggested:

It cost at least that much, if not more.
The movie really wasn’t that good (= was not very good).

(Definition of “that” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)