She is a beauty, but she is not that beauty without makeup.

Did I correctly interpret that the girl is beautiful, but she is less beautiful without her makeup on?

  • Comment removed from L.B.'s answer: Meant is the third person form (he meant, she meant). You probably wanted I mean. But you probably wanted a different verb -- 'Did I correctly mean' is not asking about what you said but about what you meant to say and doesn't make much sense as a question. I would say 'Did I correctly say', 'suggest', 'communicate', 'explain', etc. 'I mean' is closer to 'intend'.
    – gotube
    May 2, 2022 at 3:08

2 Answers 2


This is incorrect because 'beauty' (as you used it correctly the first time) is a noun and not an adjective. You typically do not modify nouns with 'that', only in unusual situations where you are using the noun as an adjective. In this case you need to just use the adjective and say "but she is not that beautiful without makeup". If you wanted a different option, you could say "She is a beauty, but not without makeup" (i.e. "She is a beauty, but she's not a beauty when she's without makeup"), but that would be a more strongly worded sentence. Also, what a rude thing to say. Anyway, your sentence as originally written would only make sense if it was comparing the girl you're talking about to some other beautiful girl (she's not that beauty).

  • But I can use “that” to refer to persons or nouns. Eg. When I met Johnny he was joyful and funny but he is no longer that guy.
    – hmitcs
    Apr 29, 2022 at 8:52
  • Yes. Your original sentence can be okay interpreted this way (that she's not living up to some separate ideal represented by 'that beauty'), it just sounds pretty unnatural and is hard to pull off. But then it's unusual to refer to people as beauties, anyway.
    – L. B.
    Apr 29, 2022 at 13:53
  • Welcome to ELL L. B.! This is a good answer, but your last two paragraphs are not part of your answer to the question, but commentary on the form of the question itself. I've removed the comments from your answer, and since they've been fixed in the question, I'm not adding them as comments. In future, please put only answers in the answer space, and comments in the comment space, or better yet, edit the question yourself an improve it. Thanks! :)
    – gotube
    May 2, 2022 at 3:07

The sentence:

She is a beauty, but she is not that beauty without makeup.

is at least awkward, if not incorrect as written. "that beauty ought to mean another specific person who is a beauty, but no such person is mentioned.

The original could be rewritten in any of several ways. I would suggest:

She is a beauty, but she is not that much of a beauty without makeup.

This makes minimal changes to the original, and expresses in a clearer way what I understand the original meaning to have been.

By the way, what is the source of the original quote? Did you write it yourself? If not, where did you read or hear it, please? In general one should provide a source, preferably an author and title if available, along with a link when possible, when quoting an example here on ELL.SE. This allows a reader to find additional context, whch often helps, and gives proper credit to the author.

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