Basic+ Word of the Day: matter

matter (verb, noun) past tense: mattered LISTEN

You matter to me.

If something matters, it means that it is important.

  • Your opinion matters to us.

Matter can also mean that something is a problem. We often use the negative, “It doesn’t matter.”

  • It doesn't matter that you forgot your football shoes. You can still play.

A matter is an important situation or issue.

  • The government debated the matter for months.

Common uses

When someone is unhappy and we want to know why, we often ask them what is the matter. For example, “You look sad. What’s the matter?”

When someone says that they did something and we want to tell them that it isn’t a problem for us, we often say that it doesn’t matter. For example: “Sorry, I broke your cup.” “It doesn’t matter. I didn’t like that cup anyway!”

In pop culture

“It doesn’t matter” is an important expression in the Michael Jackson song “Black or White.” In the famous video, he dances with people from different cultures and sings, “It don’t matter if you’re black or white.” (Don’t is non-standard English here; we usually say “It doesn’t matter.”)

There are other meanings of matter.

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