How To Use Matter – Confusing English Vocabulary

Michael Uncategorized 2 Comments

Several of my students have asked me about the word matter and how to use it, so for today’s English lesson, let’s have a look at both the noun and verb form of this word.

As a noun, we generally use matter in a question or negative sentence. Matter means problem or trouble:

  • What’s the matter with the computer?
  • I don’t know what the matter with Jane is. She seems down today.

We usually don’t use the matter in a positive sentence. Look at this conversation:

  • What’s the matter with the computer?
  • I think the problem is the hard drive. Not, I think the matter is the hard drive.

So to answer “What’s the matter~” you can say things like “The problem is~” or  “The issue is~” etc.

As a verb we generally use matter in questions or negative sentences, but it can be used in positive sentences. Matter means, important or significant.

  • Jim: Does it matter where we have lunch today?
  • Jen: It doesn’t matter where we go, as long as it’s not fast food.

Here is another example:

  • Everything she says matters to me because I value her opinions.

There are other uses of matter as well:

Matter as a noun means physical substance and this meaning is often used in science:

  • There has been no organic matter found on the moon.
  • In physics calls, the students learned about inorganic matter.

Matter also means written or printed material like books and newspapers, but this usage is a bit formal:

  • I have prepared some reading matter for class today.
  • That company deals with digitizing printed matter.

As a noun, matter also means an issue or situation being considered or discussed.

  • The marketing problem? We discussed the matter all morning.
  • I am aware that John’s performance is not good and I have already reviewed the matter with the boss.

Well, I hope you found this lesson helpful. How about writing a few sentences using matter in the comment box below? I’ll review them for you!

If you know anyone who has trouble with this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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