What does ‘what's in it for me’ mean?
The idiom "what's in it for me" expresses a selfish perspective or concern about personal gain or benefit in a given situation or proposal.
The idiom "what's in it for me" is commonly used in informal speech and writing in the United States. It expresses a self-centered or self-interested perspective, where the speaker is primarily concerned with their own benefits or gains. This idiom is typically used when evaluating a situation, action, or proposal to determine if it is worth their time, effort, or resources.
The origins of this idiom can be traced back to the early 20th century, although its exact origin is uncertain. It is believed to have emerged as a colloquial expression in American English, reflecting the individualistic values and self-interest often associated with American culture. In the mid-20th century, the idiom gained popularity and became more widely used, especially in informal conversations and discussions.
The phrase "what's in it for me" conveys a sense of self-preservation and a focus on personal advantage. Individuals often prioritize their own interests and seek benefits or rewards in various situations. This idiom is commonly used in negotiations, business deals, and interpersonal relationships, where individuals assess the potential outcomes or advantages for themselves.
Add: Another related idiom is "what's the good of." This idiom is used when questioning the value or benefit of something. It is often used to express skepticism or doubt regarding the usefulness or worth of a particular course of action or decision. When someone says "what's the good of it," they are essentially asking what the advantage or benefit is in engaging in that activity or pursuing that goal.
Furthermore, the idiom can also be used to express skepticism or cynicism towards others, implying a lack of trust or belief in their motives or intentions. It may suggest that the speaker suspects hidden agendas or ulterior motives and is cautious or hesitant about fully committing to a particular course of action or decision. In this sense, the speaker is questioning the potential benefits or advantages others claim are to be gained.
Add: Another related idiom is "for my money." This idiom is used to express one's opinion or preference, typically regarding a topic or issue. When someone says "for my money," they are essentially saying that, in their opinion, something is worth the cost or value they assign to it. It is a way of asserting a personal stance or viewpoint on a matter.
The idiom "what's in it for me" reflects a self-centered perspective and a focus on personal gain or benefits. It is commonly used in informal speech and writing in the United States, where individuals often prioritize their own interests and evaluate potential advantages or rewards in various situations. The idiom captures the individualistic values and self-interest characteristic of American culture. While its exact origin is uncertain, the phrase has gained popularity and is widely used in everyday conversations. It conveys a sense of self-preservation, skepticism towards others, and a cautious evaluation of potential outcomes. Additionally, idioms such as "what's the good of" and "for my money" relate to this concept, expressing skepticism, doubt, and personal opinions. Overall, this idiom reveals the complex dynamics of self-interest and interpersonal relationships, leaving room for further exploration and interpretation.
Examples of how the idiom "what's in it for me" can be used in a sentence:
- He was hesitant to join the committee because he didn't see what's in it for him.
- The salesman tried to convince the customer to buy the product by highlighting what's in it for her.
- She only agreed to help with the project when she realized what's in it for her career.