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?

3 Answers 3


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.

  • Or - what is on the inside is worthwhile to the world, but what is on the outside is what people care about
    – mplungjan
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 14:02
  • 2
    @mplungjan It seems I'm just not cynical enough! Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 14:09
  • I do notice that in the construction It doesn't__ where/what/ which/ who/ how, only "matter" works, while count doesn't seem to.
    – Daniel
    Commented Oct 3, 2018 at 9:50

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 :)


"count" and "matter" are synonyms and mean "is significant.

Regarding this quote "count" would mean for me: - Based on your personality people can "count" on you or not. It´s significant for a relationship that people can "count" on you, and they usually "count" this invisible values like realiability, loyalty, etc. . If you are not there for somebody, this person might not be there for you in the long run (as it is the inside what counts)

"matter" would mean for me: Your apperance, body language, gestures, clothing is the matter, "subject", "substance", everyone will observe and judge. Everyone is superficial (some people are more tolerant). If somebody looks like a wreck her appearance could result in backbiting. Which person would you like to date: 1) a person who is beautiful for you 2) the ugly duck. If you choose 1): It´s the outside what matters for you.

If you choose 2): It´s the inside that counts for you.

But I believe that you are like me, so: As a person it's what's on the inside that counts and it's what's on the outside that matters for you.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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