English Lesson: How to use “mean”

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

I’ll never forget my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Jensen. She was very mean to all of the students. Well, looking back now, I would say she was strict, but at the time we all thought she was mean. Maybe when I was twelve I didn’t understand what strict means. I mean, I was probably too young to appreciate her strong discipline.

The word mean has a few different definitions and uses. Do you know how to use this word? Take a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson:

Mean, as a verb,  is used to show the relationship between a word (or phrase) and it’s definition:

  • “Organic” means something natural
  • “Lift” means “elevator” in British English
  • Maybe when I was twelve I didn’t understand what strict means.
  • What does that symbol mean?

Mean is also used to check understanding:

  • Do you know what I mean?

Important! When you want to know the definition of a word, you can ask:

  • What does “organic” mean? Not, What means “organic”?

Mean, as an adjective, means unkind, unfair, or aggressive (usually for animals)

  • She was very mean to all of the students.
  • Jack was a mean pirate, everyone was afraid of him
  • That is a mean dog. Don’t get too close.

In casual conversation and slang, mean is used to mean skillful or great:

  • That dancer does a mean tango. She dances the tango very well
  • My mom cooks a mean pasta sauce. Her sauce is very delicious.

I don’t want to be mean, but I have to stop now (^0^). Do you know what I mean? Thanks for studying today and see you next time!

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