My two cents


Senior Member
Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
I watched Benjy use "avis à deux balles" as a translation for "my 2 cents" to begin a sentence. FYI, "my 2 cents" means "in my humble opinion". I found other French equivalents, but I doubt they're correct:
  • ajouter son grain de sel
  • mettre son grain de sel

I found it very interesting that "avis à deux balles" and "my 2 cents" share the same root: coins. Can I say "mettre mon avis à deux balles" as well in order to get the best translation for "throw in my two cents". :confused:

And what about the ethymology? Why does one use "coins" in conversation? In German, we don't have such an interesting saying (we use "moutarde"). :)
  • Benjy

    Senior Member
    English - English
    mettre son grain de sel is fine. people often just say "mon grain de sel: <opinon>"

    à deux balles just means worthless actually. you can have des blagues à deux balles as well ;)


    Senior Member
    American English
    That's interesting, because if I understand you correctly (and perhaps I have not):

    deux balles is derogatory; while
    mon grain de sel is not.

    Yet I would say that, in English, it appears to be the opposite!

    Given that the examples below do differentiate between the 1st person versus the 3rd person, what do you think?

    "I'm adding my two cents' worth."
    is not at all self-deragotory, just modest.


    "Take that [= what he said] with a grain of salt"
    is derogatory! That is, one is being advised not give credence to the statement uttered.


    New Member
    "Put my two cents in" originates from the older "put my two bits in" and has its origin in the game of poker. When playing poker you have to make a small bet before the cards are dealt called an "ante" to begin play in that hand. This phrase draws an analogy to the poker ante (two bits) and gains your entry into the conversation. Two bits means one quarter (currently the American twenty five cent piece). This comes from the older term "piece of eight".

    Today we have coins minted in different denominations - nickel, dime, and quarter in the U.S. - but this was not always so. Gold and silver coins once served as currency, with the value of the coin equal to the value of the gold or silver contained in the coin. To obtain currency valued at less than a full gold coin, coins would be scored and split into pieces. This is how one would make change so to speak.

    Coins could be split into halfs, quarters, and eighths. One eighth of a coin was called a "piece of eight" and also called a "bit". Two pieces of eight is equal to one quarter.; Hence "two bits" is a quarter. Hence "Smashed to bits" literally means to break something into eighths.