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Which of the following two phrases is correct, in the context of giving an opinion on a subject?

  • Here is my two cents on subject X
  • Here are my two cents on subject X

Most of what I found online was guess-work...

http://www.english-test.net/forum/ftopic24834.html

I think 'my two cents' is an abbreviation of "two cents' worth". So, as you said, "Here is my two cents" would be better.

And...

It's worth noting that money is often perceived as a unit anyway, so you'll see "cents" with a singular verb frequently.

  • This is interesting (does "here" change it up?) Please add any info you found on searching out the answer or it may be closed for lack of research. – anongoodnurse Aug 19 '16 at 11:56
  • In BrE (not completely certain about AmE), it should be is because "two cents" is semantically a singular element - effectively it's short for my contribution (which is worth two cents). – FumbleFingers Aug 19 '16 at 11:56
  • @FumbleFingers - I think you might be correct. Now that I think through another example, you would say "Here is 100 dollars." and not "Here are 100 dollars", correct? You are giving a sum of 100 dollars as a single action. – GWR Aug 19 '16 at 12:05
  • I've seen people use both but I believe that "Here is my two cents" is both more common and more correct, because, as @FumbleFingers says, it means your opinion, which is singular. Also, I believe it's a contraction of "My two cent's worth (of thoughts)", which would also be singular. – Max Williams Aug 19 '16 at 12:20
  • I did find Here are five dollars. Buy yourself a revolver and commit suicide on Google Books. But it does sound a bit weird to me. It's an amount of money, not five separate items. – FumbleFingers Aug 19 '16 at 12:27
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I'd posit that the "here's..." version is preferable, on various grounds.

As the OP suggests, the implied meaning is "here's my two cents worth". In fact this idiom is likely derived from (or at least cognate to) the common British English expression:

Here's my tuppenceworth

(Tuppence = 'two pennies'). https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/tuppence_worth#English https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=tuppenceworth&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ctuppenceworth%3B%2Cc0#t1%3B%2Ctuppenceworth%3B%2Cc0

Also "my two cents" is clearly a singular thing in this idiom (meaning 'my opinion'). By using is, rather than are, you avoid any ambiguity: it's clear that you're not referring to two individual 1c coins.

And - just from my own experience - I've heard variations on the "two cents" and the "tuppence" phrases many times, and it's always been with the is form. "That's my two cents" sounds fine, "Those are my two cents" sounds very awkward, archaic and pedantic.

To sum up: yes, the standard laws of grammar would require the verb to agree in number with the object (in it's literal sense), but with a common idiom like this, conventional usage defines the grammaticality.

5

Here's my two cents on the subject.


Interestingly the ngram viewer doesn't find a single occurrence of are my two cents. The actual book search does however. Guess those books are not part of the corpus ngram is based on.

However there is a clear rising trend of 's my two cents (top four of all phrases ending in my two cents) and here's my two cents. (Ngram)


Of course the Google Ngram Viewer is not an explanation regarding why that singular version is highly preferred and the usage of is and it's contraction is on such a rise.

As you have already written in your question it's short for two cents' worth (ODO) and as such the singular usage would be logical.

  • Sentences with 's contractions aren't always equivalent in acceptability to sentences with uncontracted is. "There's" is probably the most well-known example. – sumelic Oct 17 '17 at 16:58
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Here is my take... the phrase "my two cents" really represents my opinion, which is singular. So the proper use is:

Here is my two cents.

(I.E. "Here is my opinion")

... and not: "Here are my two cents."

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