I have to see him about another matter

I have to see him about another matter

means

I have to speak to him about something else.

In this context the word matter is a noun. It is a high level official or academic word which is used by lawyers.

These phrases are roughly parallel:

I have to see him about something else.
I have to see him about another matter.

Look at a conversation between two lawyers:

A Conversation between two Lawyers

– Are you going to see Mr Lee about the problems with the current contract?
– I have to see him about another matter this afternoon but I will mention the problems with the current contract when I see him.
– Ok.

From this context we see that “another matter” means:

another thing
another situation
another problem
another development
another issue
another case
another topic

The noun “matter” is very vague and covers many concepts.

The Importance of the Matter at Hand

The matter at hand

means

the thing we are talking about

or

the task we are working on right now

At Hand

“At hand”

means

Right now

or

currently

High Level Legal or Business Vocabulary

“Matter” is a noun that is frequently used in high level conversations between lawyers and other professionals.

I have to see him about an important matter.

Matter and Energy – the realm of physics

Matter also occurs as a noun when we talk about science, in particular physics.

The atomic explosion transformed matter into pure energy.

Albert Einstein

Einstein said that:

E=MC squared

C represents the speed of light which is a constant. (It never changes). That means Energy equals matter times the speed of light.

Effectively Energy is matter which has been speeded up and matter is energy which has been slowed down.

A Sea of Energy

The universe is a sea of energy.

The universe is a sea of energy and matter is solid energy in the same way that ice is solid water or solid steam.

It Doesn’t Matter

If something is not important, we use the word “matter” as a verb. Look at this conversation:

– I am sorry I forgot to bring the book I promised to lend you.
– It doesn’t matter. I don’t have time to read it now.
– I will bring it tomorrow.
– It really doesn’t matter. I am too busy right now.
– OK.

This is a much less formal level of conversation. In the legal conversation above we saw the phrase:

I have to see him about another matter.

Obligation

An obligation is something that you have to do:

I have to work to earn money.

A Radio Program

There is an ABC radio program called “Life Matters”

The title is a play on words. “Matter” can be a noun or a verb.

Verb

Life matters.
Life is important.

noun

This program is about important things in life.

Important things are important matters.

It don’t matter to me

In the song “it don’t matter to me” the group Bread sing about how “it doesn’t matter to me.” Listen to the line in the song:

It don’t matter to me.

Note that it is a convention to use a special form of grammar in English popular songs.

Correct or academic language is:

It doesn’t matter to me.

Links to More Lessons

The Law Page
Necessity and Obligation

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