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the matter (plural not attested)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see the,‎ matter("problem")
    What's the matter with him?
    Nothing's the matter.
  2. (idiomatic) wrong.
    Is there something the matter with him?.
    There is nothing the matter.
    Is much the matter with the old plan?
    There is a lot the matter with it.

Usage notesEdit

  • The idiomatic use departs from normal grammar.
  • The matter is not used freely in all cases where problem and wrong are used, only in a small number of expressions such as in the usage examples given above. For example, one does not say *He gave the matter' answer to the question.