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what's the matter?

This page is about the conversational phrase what's the matter?

Meaning

You can say this if someone seems sad, worried, sick, etc. and you want to know what's wrong.

For example

  • When I came home, my wife was crying. "What's the matter?" I said.

  • "What's the matter with Alex? He looks really upset."

Note:
In North American English, "What's up?" can be used in the same way.

Quick Quiz

If someone says "What's the matter?", they must be

a. worried about someone

b. angry with someone

c. sick of someone

Contributor: Matt Errey