Could someone explain to me, what is the difference between "really that upset" and "really upset"?

I came across the sentence

Sheila’s not really that upset, she’s just putting it on.

Why did the writer use "really that upset" instead of "really upset"?

  • Consider that "that" is spoken with emphasis.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 8, 2017 at 11:28
  • On a side note, it's "the difference", not "the different". Please learn the difference.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jun 8, 2017 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


In this context 'that' is a synonym for 'very'. "Sheila's not really upset" suggests that she is not upset at all. "Sheila's not really [all] that upset" implies that she may be a little but nothing like as much as she appears to be.

  • Add this: upset is unhappy, a completely black and white.statement. That upset is a matter of degree -- not happy at all, but not completely upset. Jun 8, 2017 at 15:40

Well typically when someone says, "Are you really that upset??" & then when "Really Upset" is used when expressing themselves or trying to express themselves, they are asking them point blank "Are you upset??" Meaning they are obviously showing somewhat of a sign of being distraught or emotional About something. When the question "Are you REALLY that upset??!!" They are practically scratching their head trying to figure out why/if they Are really that upset, because usually if someone sYsi, " Are you really that upset??!!" They are either A. Trying to come up with some logical explanation as to why they're "Really that upset?!!" Then when someone is Asked "Are you upset?" It is usually because the individual(s) are visually showing signs of being upset about something, or the person knows why they're upset, but is curious "If they're upset??!" Usually indicating that there is a reason why this person should naturally be upset. If that makes sense. I hope I put it well enough for you to now see the difference in the two different questions/concerns!!!

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