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You have probably come across the English word "matter". It is one of those difficult words that seem to mean different things in different contexts. An easy way to learn words like this is to memorise a few common expressions which contain them, and that is what we are going to do with the word "matter".
First, we have the expression "what is the matter?" If we see someone who is angry or upset, and we say to them "What is the matter?" we mean "What is wrong? What is the problem?"
Second, if we say that something "matters", we mean simply that it is important or serious.
And now, if you are clear about these explanations, let's go and see how Kevin and Joanne are.
The football season has begun. This means that on Saturday afternoons when United are playing at home, Kevin goes to the football ground to watch the match. On Saturdays when United are playing away, however, Kevin watches the match on TV. Today United have gone to London to play against Fulham, and Kevin is slumped on the sofa in front of the television, hoping that this week United will win.
In the first half, things go well. United's striker scores a brilliant goal after about 20 minutes. But in the second half, Fulham play much better. They score a lucky goal when one of the United defenders makes a mistake. And they score again in the last minute of the game.
Kevin is not happy. "Oh no!" he shouts, and adds some words which I could not possibly repeat on a family podcast show like Listen to English. Joanne, who is doing some work on her computer in the kitchen, runs in. “What’s the matter?” she asks. "What has happened?" Kevin tells her that United have lost 2-1.
"Is that all?" asks Joanne unsympathetically. "Never mind. It's only a football match. It doesn't matter which side wins." But Kevin has a different view. "Of course it matters", he says. "United have lost their last three matches. If this goes on, they will be bottom of the table by Christmas."
At this moment, there is a loud crash in the kitchen. Joanne rushes back to see what has happened. She finds the cat sitting on the kitchen table. The cat has walked over the computer keyboard and added several lines of random letters to the end of the email which Joanne had been writing. The cat has then – somehow – managed to send the email to Joanne's boss. Finally, she (the cat, that is) has knocked over a mug of coffee which Joanna had left on the table beside the computer. The coffee has gone all over the computer keyboard, and the mug is lying broken on the floor.
"Oh no", says Joanne. "What's the matter?" asks Kevin. Joanne explains what has happened. "It doesn't matter," says Kevin. "We can dry the computer with a cloth".
"Of course it matters, you idiot," says Joanne. "Liquids ruin computer keyboards. You can't just dry them with a cloth. And what is my boss going to think about the email. She will think I am crazy!"
Kevin and Joanne look at each other, and realise how ridiculous the situation is. They start laughing. "You're right," says Kevin. "It really doesn't matter about the football." "It doesn't matter about the computer either," says Joanne. "I know someone at work who can fix it. And my boss never reads her emails anyway."
The cat sits on the table and looks at them. "What is the matter with humans?" she thinks. "First they get upset. Then they start laughing like idiots. They don't understand that food and sleep are the only things that really matter in life."
Источник подкаста: listen-to-english.