What’s the difference betwen these two phrases?

  1. It’s a matter for the politicians
  2. It’s the concern of politicians.
  • What parts of the different words are unclear as to how the phrases differ in meaning? – Matt E. Эллен Jul 15 '13 at 8:22

None. As far as I can tell. Both the phrases convey the same meaning in different words. So the only difference is in the choice of words and that arguably the latter is slightly more formal than the first.

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  • @user47770 If you feel your question has been answered, please click on the tick mark alongside the answer to choose it as correct and close the question. – Pawan Jul 14 '13 at 21:36

Initially, I disagreed with the answer given by @Pawan, but see my Addendum.

It’s a matter for the politicians

This means that it is an issue that needs to be addressed and/or resolved by, or is the responsibilty of, politicians - as distinct from being the responsibilty of the general public or of any particular organisation.

It’s the concern of politicians

Concern (as a noun) is defined as follows:
from Oxford Dictionaries Online (ODO):

  1. [mass noun] anxiety; worry: Carole gazed at her with concern
    [count noun] a cause of anxiety or worry: environmental concerns
  2. a matter of interest or importance to someone: housing is the concern of the Housing Executive
    [mass noun]: the prospect should be of concern to us all

from Chambers Dictionary:

  1. a worry or a cause of worry;
    b interest or a subject of interest.
  2. someone's business or responsibility • That's my concern.

It is clear from these definitions that:

  1. Concern can mean merely that it is the responsibility of; but
  2. the primary meaning of concern (and the meaning that I would attribute to it in this context) is that the issue is an issue of anxiety or worry to politicians.


As @Pawan has pointed out in a comment, because of the subtleties of English, the precise intended meaning of a word or phrase can turn on the issue of which prepositions and articles are used in conjunction with it. In my 'concern' to highlight the possible differences in meaning between "matter" and "concern", I have not commented on that. Without knowing the context or origin of the phrases, I would be reluctant to judge the intent of a phrase on that basis alone.

Nevertheless, I now agree with @Pawan that:

  • The meaning I have suggested is more likely to be conveyed as "It’s a concern for politicians."
  • Nevertheless, if a particular issue of general concern (worry, anxiety) has been discussed immediately prior to the phrase in question, then "It’s the concern of politicians." might be used to convey that politicians are currently worried about and considering the issue. Native speakers are, however, more likely to phrase such as "It's a concern for [the] politicians", or "It's of concern to politicians".
  • "It's the concern of politicians" may well be intended to mean the same as "It’s a matter for the politicians".
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  • I dont think the "worry" meaning of concern applies here. If it would have meant that, then the better way of conveying it would have been : Its a concern for the politicians rather than Its the concern of politicians I think the difference in the context is clearly visible. – Pawan Jul 15 '13 at 5:35
  • I take your point, and I'll amend my answer. However, unfortunately, we know neither the context of the expressions (which could have been merely written by the OP as examples), nor the English language ability of the OP. In those circumstances, I would be reluctant to give an answer that hinges solely on the OP's choice of a preposition, because, as we know from many other questions here, the choice of prepositions is often a difficulty for non-native speakers. – TrevorD Jul 15 '13 at 10:51