English Idioms

My two cents


My comprehension of English is a bit limited, so I'm using a dictionnary right now in an hazardous attempt to express myself properly.

It's all very confusing. What is the difference between these three variations of the idiom?

"get their two cents in"/"give their two cents in/"put their two cents in"

As by boss already told me : "If you don't put your two cents in, how can you get change?" So I did.

Answers are very much expected and corrections too.


  • Welcome Newbe the newbie.

    "If you don't put your two cents in, how can you get change?" is an American idiomatic expression used to spur someone on to tell their views about what is at stake. It's synonym of: "If you don't give your opinion, how could we/you go further (into the matter)".
    The idiom is a play on words between literal and figurative sense. Literally: If you don't put 2 coins in, you won't get change (money in coins). Figuratively: If you don't express your opinion, how will we/you go further forward.

    To my mind,
    1 'to GIVE one's two cents in' is synonym of 'to PUT one's two cents in' --> to express one's humble opinion, one's polite opinion (according to the context) or one's opinion full stop.
    2 'to GET one's two cents' --> to make up one's mind or to get used to an idea (by hearing something, being told something, etc.)

    Additional tip in answer to your last line:
    "My boss already told me" is not used. With the adverb ALREADY you mean that your boss has told you something yet without precising the poment in the past. I'd say: My boss has already told me...

    *The code [CS] means Correction Suggested.
    Way to go, Newbe!

    [CW] for: correction of my tip is welcome.
  • Thank you! Your corrections are appreciated.

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