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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Question What's the matter?

    I did not find "What's the matter?" in the database, so I wanted to ask whether this is more an American or a British idiom.
    Thank you!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What's the matter?

    Welcome to the forum.

    It's certainly very common in BrE.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What's the matter?

    It's very common in the US also.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What's the matter?

    I wouldn't call it an idiom or slang. It's a simple direct question which you would aim at someone when you think, for some reason, that they have a problem of some kind.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Moderator
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    #5

    Re: What's the matter?

    I consider it an idiom because the noun matter changes its meaning in the fixed phrase the matter (with).

    A.A. Milne, no champion of slang, wrote a whole poem about something being the matter:


    What is the matter with Mary Jane?
    She's crying with all her might and main,
    And she won't eat her dinner - rice pudding again -
    What is the matter with Mary Jane?


    What is the matter with Mary Jane?
    I've promised her dolls and a daisy-chain,
    And a book about animals - all in vain -
    What is the matter with Mary Jane?


    What is the matter with Mary Jane?
    She's perfectly well, and she hasn't a pain;
    But, look at her, now she's beginning again! -
    What is the matter with Mary Jane?


    What is the matter with Mary Jane?
    I've promised her sweets and a ride in the train,
    And I've begged her to stop for a bit and explain -
    What is the matter with Mary Jane?


    What is the matter with Mary Jane?
    She's perfectly well and she hasn't a pain,
    And it's lovely rice pudding for dinner again!
    What is the matter with Mary Jane?
    I am not a teacher.

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: What's the matter?

    Not one of the finest Milne examples.

  7. Moderator
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    #7

    Re: What's the matter?

    I would qualify what's the matter?​ as an idiom, not slang.
    I am not a teacher.

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