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  1. #1
    Ferdie11's Avatar
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    What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Hi,

    What's the difference between these sentences?

    1. What's that mean?
    2. What does that mean?

    In my opinion, the nubmer 1. is more common in conversational English, but the number 2. is more common in written English.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Correct.

  3. #3
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Question Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ferdie11 View Post
    1. What's that mean?
    Quote Originally Posted by billmcd View Post
    Correct.
    I would have never thought it was correct. They might be saying "What's that mean?" as a (verbal) contraction of "What does that mean? (i.e. it is just how you would pronounce "what does it mean"), but otherwise it is not an example of written contraction, is it? Or would it really be correct to write "What's that mean?"

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by ~Mav~ View Post
    I would have never thought it was correct.
    I would never have thought ...
    I would not have thought ...
    (Put 'never' in the same place as you'd put 'not'.)

    They might be saying "What's that mean?" as a (verbal) contraction of "What does that mean? (i.e. it is just how you would pronounce "what does it mean"), but otherwise it is not an example of written contraction, is it? Or would it really be correct to write "What's that mean?"
    It's not common to see 'does' contracted like this in writing. But it's possible as long as there's no ambiguity. I wouldn't recommend it for academic writing, but you might see it legitimately used in a novel.

    "What's that got to do with it?" (has)
    "What's that have to do with it?"
    (does)

  5. #5
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Thumbs up Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I would never have thought ...
    I would not have thought ...
    (Put 'never' in the same place as you'd put 'not'.)
    I will engrave it into my mind. This probably is a common error, because there are 14 700 000 ( ) hits for "I would have never thought". (I know this is not an excuse... )


    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It's not common to see 'does' contracted like this in writing. But it's possible as long as there's no ambiguity. I wouldn't recommend it for academic writing, but you might see it legitimately used in a novel.

    "What's that got to do with it?" (has)
    "What's that have to do with it?"
    (does)
    That kind of use of 's (when it stands for "does") is very confusing. Anyway, thank you very much for your answer.

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon, Mav.

    (1) Yes, native speakers use all kinds of "weird" contractions in speech.

    (2) Can you guess what these sentences mean?

    (a) What's the "E" stand for?

    (b) Why's he go every week?

    (c) Why's he here?

    (d) She's a boyfriend.

    ***** Answers:

    (a) What does the "E" stand for? (It stands for "Edward.")

    (b) Why does he go every week? (He considers it his obligation)

    (c) Why is he here? (Because I invited him.)

    (d) She has a boyfriend. (Really? I didn't know that.)

    Have a nice weekend!

  7. #7
    ~Mav~ is offline Member
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    Thumbs up Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Dear Parser,

    Thank you for your excellent examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (1) Yes, native speakers use all kinds of "weird" contractions in speech.
    It's okay in speech (though a non-native speaker's life would be easier if the use of contractions were limited to those common and more "recognizable" ones like "I've", "you're", etc. ), but it's a bit weird to see them in writing.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (2) Can you guess what these sentences mean?

    (a) What's the "E" stand for?

    (b) Why's he go every week?
    I might have figured them out, nevertheless they are still weird for me.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    (c) Why's he here?

    (d) She's a boyfriend.



    (c) Why is he here? (Because I invited him.)

    (d) She has a boyfriend. (Really? I didn't know that.)
    These are okay for me, though I couldn't help playing on the ambiguity of she's a 'boyfriend'. I would probably say something like "Alrighty, she is a butch". (She's a butch in the streets, femme in the sheets. )


    Have a nice weekend, too!

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Good afternoon, Mav.

    (1) Yes, native speakers use all kinds of "weird" contractions in speech.

    (2) Can you guess what these sentences mean?

    (a) What's the "E" stand for?

    (b) Why's he go every week?

    (c) Why's he here?

    (d) She's a boyfriend.

    ***** Answers:

    (a) What does the "E" stand for? (It stands for "Edward.")

    (b) Why does he go every week? (He considers it his obligation)

    (c) Why is he here? (Because I invited him.)

    (d) She has a boyfriend. (Really? I didn't know that.)

    Have a nice weekend!
    Apart from "She's a boyfriend", these are great examples. "She's" pretty much always is taken to mean "She is" so this would be a very confusing sentence, as previously pointed out. "She is a boyfriend" wouldn't necessarily mean anything at all - it wouldn't suggest that she is a lesbian, nor butch etc, it simply wouldn't make sense.

    We don't use "She's" as a contraction of "she has" very often, unless it's followed by a past participle: She's been / She's gone / She's had etc.

  9. #9
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    I heard "She's a boyfriend" on my favorite TV show, "The Golden Girls." It may not be common, but it is possible. (I hear that the late Queen Mother also was a fan of that show.)

  10. #10
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    Re: What's that mean? vs What does that mean?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    I heard "She's a boyfriend" on my favorite TV show, "The Golden Girls." It may not be common, but it is possible. (I hear that the late Queen Mother also was a fan of that show.)
    Oh, I agree that it's possible, as are most contractions. It's just that the immediate reaction of most native speakers (I believe) to that would be "She is..."

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