15 encouraging phrases a Spanish speaker like me would love for you to learn.

Learning these simple yet meaningful phrases could make all the difference in the world.

I'm a 38-year-old bilingual Mexican-American, and I recently came to a very interesting realization about non-Spanish speakers.

I meet a lot of people at work, on the street, and in my community who want to make an effort by speaking my native language. It's great. But often, they default to the same handful of phrases: "Hola," "Buenos días," maybe a "Como está" once in a while.

I was chatting with a co-worker recently about my work as a writer. I could tell he was very proud of me. When our chat ended, he said, "Si se puede!" I thought, "Dammit!"


Let me explain: "Si se puede" means "yes we can," and it's a renowned cry of Latino pride made famous by American labor leader and social activist Cesar Chávez way before President Barack Obama made it a slogan. A lot of Latinos love that phrase.

But the phrase is so generic now that it has almost taken away the true meaning of his pride.

That wasn't his fault, of course. I just would've preferred an "I'm really proud of you" instead. Then I immediately felt terrible for thinking that because how could he know that?

Please don't get me wrong: I appreciate it oh-so-much when non-Spanish-speaking people take the time and effort to say something to me in Spanish. But it would be awesome if there were more common phrases floating around society (besides curse words).

So I wanted to offer up some other options for those friendly Spanish-speaking chats you might want to have. Allow me to be your friendly bilingual guide. :)

Here are 15 inclusive phrases in Spanish that I would love to see become part of our shared vernacular:

1. Great job. / Buen trabajo.

Pronounced: boo-en tra-bah-hoe.

All illustrations by Kitty Curran.

This phrase goes a long way, and it's always nice to feel like what you're doing is making a difference.

2. You have a beautiful smile. / Que bella sonrisa.

Pronounced: ke beh-ya sone-ree-sa.

Go ahead, try it; and I guarantee they'll flash those pearly whites even wider.

3. Would you like to be friends? / Quisieras ser mi amigo(a)?

Pronounced: key-see-air-aws sare me amigo (for a male) amiga (for a female)?

This question could spark the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Promise!

4. I appreciate your work. / Aprecio tu trabajo.

Pronounced: aw-pre-see-oh too trah-bah-hoe.

Recognizing someone's hard work — particularly if they're on the job — is a wonderful thing.

5. You make the world a better place. / Tu mejoras el mundo.

Pronounced: too meh-ho-raws el moon-doe.

This phrase has the power to stop anyone in their tracks and instantly make their day.

6. Your kindness is appreciated. / Aprecio tu amabilidad.

Pronounced: ah-pre-see-oh too aw-ma-bee-lee-dod.

There is no such thing as too much kindness in this world, so there's no way you can overuse this phrase if you truly feel it about someone.

7. How is your day going? / Como va tu dia?

Pronounced: como va too dee-ah?

A simple conversation-starter or perfect for friendly chitchat.  

8. Are you enjoying the weather? / Estás disfrutando del clima?

Pronounced: es-tas dees-froo-tan-doh del clee-maw?

You know how they say talking about the weather is the perfect small talk? It's like that in Spanish, too!

9. You have a lot to offer. / Tienes mucho que ofrecer.

Pronounced: tee-en-es moo-choe ke oh-freh-ser

It's the perfect morale booster, especially when someone you care about is feeling down and out.

10. I'm proud of you. / Estoy orgullosa(o) de ti.

Pronounced: es-toy or-goo-yo-so (from a male) or or-goo-yo-sa (for a female) de tee.

This is another powerful phrase that you shouldn't use sparingly with anyone you feel deserves to hear it.

11. I believe in you. / Creo en ti.

Pronounced: kre-oh en tee.

This is beautiful compliment can be used in so many everyday situations at home, in school, and at the workplace.

12. Never give up. / Nunca te des por vencida(o).

Pronounced: noon-ka te des pore ven-see-da (to a female) or ven-see-do (to a male).

Another morale-boosting statement of positive reinforcement for anyone you believe in.

13. I know you can do it. / Yo sé que tú puedes.

Pronounced: yo se ke too poo-eh-des.

This phrase is especially nice to say to someone struggling with a task or facing a complicated situation.

14. You are very pleasant to be around. / Tu presencia es agradable.

Pronounced: too preh-sen-see-aw es aw-grah-dob-le.

Best. Compliment. Ever.

15. How do you say ___ in Spanish? / Como se dice ___ en Español?

Pronounced: ko-mo se dee-se [enter any word here] en ess-pan-yol?

For yours truly, this is the best request ever, which is why I humbly requested the friendly gal in the red shirt in the illustrations be drawn in my likeness.

Can you say, "I love it!" in Spanish? It's "Me encanta!" And that's how I feel about this brief but mighty guide to helpful phrases in Spanish.

I'm not the type to get offended when someone says something to me in Spanish while in public, assuming I'm Latina.

Because I am a Latina, and I look it, and I'm OK with that. But it is important to remember there are Latinos who prefer to blend, to not be approached by someone trying to speak Spanish simply because they look Latino.

Either way, there is absolutely no shame in saying "Hola" or "Buenos días," or anything else you know how to say. It shows your good intentions and lets Latinos like me know you're making an effort to speak our language.

But my hope is that you might also be able to add some other phrases to your arsenal, too should the need to express yourself in Spanish arise.

After all, learning how to better communicate with one another is one of the best ways to make the world a better place. ¡Ya verán!

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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