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    #1

    a question/problem/matter of sth

    The following is taken from McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs:
    a question of something: a matter of something; a problem
    of something.  Itís not a matter of not wanting to go
    to the opera. Itís a question of money.

    From the explanation, can it be concluded that these three words are exchangeable (as in 'It's a question/problem/matter of money') ?

    Thank you in advance.

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    #2

    Re: a question/problem/matter of sth

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    The following is taken from McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs:
    a question of something: a matter of something; a problem
    of something. It’s not a matter of not wanting to go
    to the opera. It’s a question of money.

    From the explanation, can it be concluded that these three words are exchangeable (as in 'It's a question/problem/matter of money') ?

    Thank you in advance.
    No, not entirely.
    Some examples:
    It's a matter of life and death. It's a matter of principle.
    These are idiomatic; they don't use 'problem'.

    A: Why are you spending so much time on that poem?
    B: You wouldn't understand: it's a question of quality.
    (Not 'problem')

    A: Why are you taking so much time to fix the car?
    B: It's a problem of the age of the car. Everything has deteriorated.


    I would only use 'problem' if there was, in fact, a problem - as in the last example.
    'Question' seems to be used when a specific question is implied.
    It's a question of money. The question is 'Where would we get the money'?
    It's a question of quality. The question is 'What quality am I trying to achieve?'
    I think 'matter' would be the most widely applicable, since it doesn't have the connotations of 'problem, or 'question'.

    This is only my opinion. Usage probably varies in different places.

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