Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I came across a quote today, it is,

As a person it's what's on the inside that counts. It's what's on the outside that matters.

Please explain the quote for me. Are count and matter opposites?

share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers

In fact in this case, count and matter are actually synonyms.

count verb

3 [no object] be significant:
it did not matter what the audience thought—it was the critics that counted

matter verb [no object]

1 [usually with negative or in questions] be important or significant:
it doesn’t matter what the guests wear

Both from ODO

Both mean “is significant”.

However, I suspect that your quote is wrong, and it should be

As a person it's what's on the inside that counts. What's on the outside doesn't matter.

That is, it's someone's heart and intentions which are important, not what they seem to be.

share|improve this answer
    
Or - what is on the inside is worthwhile to the world, but what is on the outside is what people care about –  mplungjan Mar 18 '13 at 14:02
2  
@mplungjan It seems I'm just not cynical enough! –  St John of the Cross Mar 18 '13 at 14:09
add comment

In this example count and matter are synonyms. This is just a way of saying that they both count/matter, and lets the reader make his pick according to his principles :)

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.