What’s the difference between ‘matter’ and ‘care’?

Watch this short video to get the answer and improve your English. Check it out!

In this video I want to talk about a common mistake

that a lot of my students have been making during my Skype English classes.

So, the mistake is with these two phrases:

The first one: “He doesn’t care.”

And the second one: “He doesn’t matter.”

So, if I say, “He doesn’t care.” What I mean is he does not have a preference.

It could be eating pizza or eating chicken. It does not matter to him.

It does not affect him, he is happy with either choice. It’s no problem.

Now, if I say, “He doesn’t matter,” that has a different meaning.

If something does not matter it means that something is not important in a situation.

It is not talking about your feelings or your preferences.

It is talking about if something is important or not, or if it’s relevant or not.

So, for example, let’s say that you and your colleague are going to go do a presentation for your company

and you’re going to another city and when you get there you realize you left your laptop at home.

So you’re really upset and then your colleague says.

“Hey, it doesn’t matter, you can use my laptop.

We’ll just download the files real quick, and you’ll be fine.

You’ll use my laptop and we’ll do the presentation.”

So that’s saying, you left your computer at home but

that’s not important because we have another solution.

It is not going to have a negative impact on the situation.

So, now let’s go look back at the original two sentences.

If I say, “He does not matter.”

That’s like saying “he” is not important, we don’t need him,

he is not very good, he is not going to contribute very much.

So it’s really a mean thing to say, or an inconsiderate or a rude thing to say.

To say that a person doesn’t matter.

A very nasty thing to say, for example,

if somebody was suffering from something or if somebody died even,

and you said, “He doesn’t matter” that would be a very nasty, horrible thing to say.

So in almost all cases if you are talking about a person you would say, “He doesn’t care.”

Meaning he doesn’t have a preference, and whatever decision we make he will be fine with it.

All right? Now I’m going to give you some sample sentences to help reinforce this idea:

A: “My car won’t start. I don’t think that I can go.”

B: “It doesn’t matter. I’ll go pick you up. It’s no problem.”

“I only slept 4 hours last night. I’m really tired but it’s ok.

It doesn’t matter.

I think I have enough energy. I can go.”

“I really don’t care if we go swimming or if we go hiking.

Either way is fine with me.

We can do whatever you want.”

“I really don’t care what people think about me.”

“He doesn’t spend much money on clothing.

I think it’s because he doesn’t care what people think.”

All right, so to not care about something means to not really have a preference, one way or another.

And if something does not matter, it means that something is not relevant or something is not important

or is not going to have an impact on a situation.

So I hope this was useful for you and that now you won’t be confused about these two phrases.

And as always if you need more help with your English just ask us about.

Try our 1-on-1 Skype lessons to gain fluency in English.

It’s a great way to correct your mistakes and get accent reduction.

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