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My understanding is "you're not you" means "you're not yourself", while "that's not you" is something I would use for example if we were looking at a photo. Is that right? Can you explain why "that" changes the meaning of the sentence? Is it because "that" is a "demonstrative pronoun"? What other situations would you use the one or the other?

  • I cannot think of any situation where I would use "you're not you", except in science fiction (or perhaps philosophy). I see it's also a title of a novel and a film. And it was used in a Snickers campaign in the same sense. – michael.hor257k May 30 '17 at 15:53
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They are quite different.

"That is not you" is a straightforward grammatical form. "That" can be something you are looking at e.g. a photo, or a reference to some characteristic. If I say "I think I'll take a course in homeopathy" my wife, would probably say "That's not you".

"You're not you" is an idiomatic way of telling a person that they are behaving out of character, or that they look ill. But perhaps more common, and closely related is "you don't seem yourself". Or indeed a person might say "I don't feel myself", usually meaning that they don't feel well.

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