My Two Cents

If you pay a little bit of attention, you will notice that people "just my two cents" as the ending of their emails and speeches. Obviously, "My two cents" is an American idiomatic expression but I am not sure that people really  know what it means.

People may think "my two cents" could be one of the follow means:

  1. This is my humble opinion;

  2. This is the only opinion that I have;

  3. This is all what I have;

  4. I have no other opinions;

  5. It is a true statement;

  6. This is my first thought.

Which one do you think is the correct meaning?

Before we give you the answer, let's take a look where this idiom comes from:

"My two cents" and its long version "put my two cents in" is taken from the original British idiomatic expression: to put in "my two pennies worth". It used to preface the tentative 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, you should sell that stock now."

There is some speculation as to the origin of the idiom. Some believe that the phrase originates in betting card games, such as poker. In these games, one must make a small bet, or ante, before beginning play. Thus, the phrase makes an analogy between entering the game and entering a conversation. However, there is no documentary evidence of this being the origin of the idiom and as such, is merely speculation. Other likely origins are that "my two pennies worth" is derived from the much older 16th Century British expression, "a penny for your thoughts". There is also some belief that the idiom may have its origins in the early cost of postage in Britain, the "two-penny post", where two pennies was the normal charge of sending a letter containing one's words and thoughts or feelings  to someone.

Some believe that the phrase really originates in the Bible when Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very little pennies. He said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."

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

Now, you may have an idea of that "my two cents" means.

如果你稍微注意一下你所收到的电子邮件,和在有些人的讲话中,你可能会发觉人们常常用“just my two cents(那只是我的两分钱)”来作结尾。显然,“my two cents”是一句英文的成语,但是可能好多人并不明白这句成语的真正含义。

人们可能对这句“my two cents”成语会有以下几种猜想:

  1. This is my humble opinion(仅仅是本人愚见);

  2. This is the only opinion that I have(本人仅有的见解);

  3. This is all what I have( 这是本人所有的见解);

  4. I have no other opinions(本人没有其他看法);

  5. It is a true statement(这是本人真的看法);

  6. This is my first thought(仅仅是本人初步想法).

你觉得哪一个是正确的答案呢?

在我们告诉你答案之前,我们觉得应该先来看看这个成语的来源:

“My two cents”是英文“put my two cents in”的简化,常常在某人发表还不成熟的意见时的一种表白;尤其是用在反对原有的意见而且提出不同的建议的时候才这么说的。意思是表示谦虚、客气,所以才说本人的建议才值两分钱,希望以此来减少 与先前发表意见的那一位的冲突。但是,有的时候也可以有讽刺的意思,从而强调发言人的观点,这就要看说话的语气了。当然,这个成语也可以同在没有任何争论的观点上。

比如:“If I may put my two cents in, that hat doesn't do you any favors”(以本人初浅的看法,您的这顶帽子没能让你显得更英俊)就比“That hat is ugly(你的帽子好难看啊)”婉转多了。

对这个成语的产生有些不同的猜测和传说。有的人认为这个成语来自赌博。比如在开始打“扑克”(poker)时,你必须要先下一个小赌注。因此,这句成语就用在这堵台的开始的时候,如同用在对话的开始一样。但是并没有任何可认可的记录或者证据可以表明这句成语是从赌场开始的;这个说法仅仅是个猜测而已。也有人认为这句成语是从十六世纪英国的一句措词“a penny for your thoughts(你呆想出来的)”引申出来的。也有人认为这句成语是因为最初英国邮票的的价格是两分钱送一封信而来的。

不少人认为这句成语起源于圣经。当耶稣在圣殿里,抬头观看,见财主把捐项投在圣殿的奉献柜里。又见一个穷寡妇投了两个小钱。耶稣就说“我实在告诉你们,这穷寡妇所投的比其他人都多。因为其他人都是把自己有馀的才拿出来投在奉献柜里。但这寡妇是自己不足,却把她一切所有的都投到奉献柜里了。

“Two cents”和它的一些变换形式有的还时候也表示“意见”的名词形式和动词词组。而且有很都例子。

综上所述,你大概对“my two cents”有点明白了吧?