Dime a dozen

Most Important Level 3

"to be a dime a dozen"

Meaning: too common to be valuable or special; very common; abundant

Why does it mean that?

In America, "a dime" is a coin that is worth 10 cents. It is a small amount of money. "A dozen" means 12. So, this idiom means that we can buy 12 of something for only 10 cents. If we can buy 12 of something for only 10 cents, then that means the thing must be very common and not special.

When do we use it?

We use this idiom when a thing or kind of person is very common, so the thing or person is not very special.

How do we use it?

We use this idiom as a part of a sentence. This phrase usually a "be verb". And since we are always talking about something that is common or that there are many of, we use "are" when with the present tense and "were" with the past tense.
  • People with average English skills are a dime a dozen.
  • People with bachelor's degrees are a dime a dozen these days.
  • Pigeons are a dime a dozen in this city. They are everywhere.
  • Street food cars were a dime a dozen when I was young, but there are not many now.
Example English Conversations

A) I heard that one of our marketing employees quit yesterday. What are we going to do?
B) Don't worry. People with a marketing degree are a dime a dozen in this city. We should be able to find somebody to replace him easily.

A) Where can we get a beer around here?
B) Bars are a dime a dozen in this neighbor. We will be able to find one easily.

A) There are many beautiful people in LA who want to be actors.
B) You are right. Beautiful people are a dime a dozen in LA.

A) Avocadoes are so expensive in my country.
B) Really? Here they are a dime a dozen. You can usually get 2 or 1 dollar here.

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