It’s not like I was angry with her. Damn, I’d have to understand her for that to be a part of the equation.

What does the "that" stand for?

1 Answer 1


That here refers to what was at issue in the previous statement, namely, "I was angry with her." So the character that makes this statement is saying:

I am not angry with her. If I was angry with her, I would have to understand her first. (= I need to understand her first to be mad at her. = I don't even understand her!)


You have stated that the part with the equation confuses you. Equation here doesn't mean a mathematical equation, but a situation. See this definition provided by the ODO:

(the equation): A situation in which several factors must be taken into account.

So you could say:

‘money also came into the equation’

which means money became part of the situation or problem

"other factors came into the equation"

means other factors have entered this situation to be considered.

So your original sentence

I’d have to understand her for that to be a part of the equation.


In order for that scenario (I am mad at her) to enter this situation, I would have to understand her to begin with.

  • Thank you. Now, I understand the "that", but I confuse with the "be a part of the equation".
    – Zhang
    Mar 29, 2018 at 1:33
  • @马化腾 See the newly added stuff.
    – Eddie Kal
    Mar 29, 2018 at 3:56
  • Great Answer! I rarely get a so clear answer. Thanks.
    – Zhang
    Mar 29, 2018 at 4:38
  • @马化腾 Why don't you accept it if you think it helped you? Mar 29, 2018 at 6:37
  • 1
    @马化腾 Sure, you're more then welcome to ask any questions. The only thing to keep in mind is that you have to make sure that your questions are not off-topic. Mar 30, 2018 at 0:28

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