Friends making a decision about where to take a trip
Natalie: I was thinking about the restaurants we should visit while in San Francisco. I have so many I want to go to. What about you?
Robert: I don’t know what to say. Whatever is fine.
Natalie: Hey, we’re doing this together right? A penny for your thoughts, Rob.
Robert: Well, I heard they have good sushi there. I guess the sushi shop by the Ferry Building would be great.
Natalie: See, that wasn’t so painful, was it? Your opinion counts.
Teachers discussing next year’s school events
Tom: What do you think about taking students to the Ramen Festival in February?
Karley: I’m not from L.A., so please don’t ask. I really don’t know any place around here.
Tom: Oh, come on! I’m sure you’ve considered, at least, a place you want to visit. A penny for your thoughts, Karley.
Karley: Fine! I was thinking about this really nice restaurant in downtown with a great view of the city. Maybe after, we can all go to a museum.
Meaning: A penny for your thoughts is a comment you make when you want someone else’s opinion. Perhaps the person doesn’t want to contribute to ideas or is simply shy. It’s a way to motivate someone to participate. In both examples, the characters have to say it for their friend’s opinion to be expressed.