American-ism: My 2 Cents

During your stay in USA you'll encounter many situations and sayings, which you won't be familiar with. These series on American-isms will introduce with some of the most common events/sayings in America.

"My 2 Cents" an American idiomatic expression used to preface the stating of one's opinion. By deprecating the opinion to follow — suggesting its value is only two cents, a very small amount — the user of the phrase hopes to lessen the impact of a possibly contentious statement, showing politeness and humility. However, it is also sometimes used with irony when expressing a strongly felt opinion. The phrase is also used out of habit to preface uncontentious opinions.

For example: "If I may put my two cents in, that hat doesn't do you any favors." (More polite way of saying, for example: That hat is ugly.) An example of the shortened version: "My two cents is that you should sell that stock now."

"Two cents" and its variations may also be used in place of the noun "opinion" or the verb phrase "state [subject's] opinion", e.g. "You had to put your two cents in, didn't you?" or "But thats just my two cents."

The phrase "If you don't put your two cents in, how can you get change?" encourages an expression of opinion. It makes a pun on the word "change". One meaning of change is an alteration — presumably to bring someone or something in agreement with an expressed opinion. Another meaning of change is the cash equivalent of an overpayment.

This expression is also often used at the end of a statement, e.g., "Just my two cents." In this usage, there are many variations that serve the same purpose, such as "Just my $0.02 worth" or "Just my 1/50th of a dollar."


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