Lovemyguitar wrote: ↑
Wed May 08, 2019 10:45 pm
musicbyandy wrote: ↑
Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:16 pm
...I didn't ask my coworkers what is meant by the expression, "That's not that many." despite me often being confused by this usage of the word "THAT"....
In this instance, the word "that" (the second one, "...not that
many") is being used as an adverb. When "that" is used as an adverb, it means: to such a degree; so
. In other words, it expresses a relation of degree to the subject that it modifies (in this instance, "many [pieces of pizza]" is being modified). When "not" precedes "that" used as an adverb, it indicates a lesser degree.
Therefore, when your coworker said, "That's not that
many [pieces of pizza]", what he or she meant was something like, "That's not very much pizza."
If "not" is not used, then "that" indicates a greater degree of the word it modifies, so that if you said, "It is that
many", you would mean "It is a huge amount of pizza!".
Often, when a person speaks this word out loud (the adverbial "that"), they emphasize the word: "It isn't THAT bad", or, "Oh yes, it is THAT bad!!". When this emphasis is used, the person is often making a point to contradict whatever another person has just said: in your example, you were suggesting that you'd eaten too much pizza and should not be running around, but your coworker disagreed with your assessment, and suggested that it wasn't very much pizza at all, and you shouldn't worry about it.
Does that help clarify that usage of "that"? It is actually extremely common, I think. Or, should I say, "it really is THAT common for people to use "that" as an adverb in the way that I have just explained!".
In the past, I have expressed my confusion with the word "that". Your explanation is consistent with other explanations I have received.
Despite such explanations, I'm afraid I don't understand how "that" can function as an adverb. My understanding is "that" is a pronoun taking the place of something. I cannot understand how in the expression "that's not THAT much pizza." how can THAT mean so much as, "isn't much pizza and you should't worry about two slices of pizza interfering with your digestion."
On the occasion when I say something like:
Me: I'm full.
Person: How much did you eat?
Me: I ate two slices of pizza.
Person: Two slices isn't that much.
I reply: How much is two slices? I then hope the person will clarify how much is two slices.
Or I say: I don't understand what you mean by, "Two slices isn't that
much." Two slices is two slices, neither more nor less.
In this scenario, if the person is using "that" to express "Two slices isn't a quantity of pizza conducive to being full" - I find "that" to be a confusing word to express such sentiment.
"When "not" precedes "that" used as an adverb, it indicates a lesser degree." I feel like "not" could theoretically indicate a greater degree in addition to a lesser degree.