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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.

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

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!

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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2020 was difficult (to say the least). The year was full of life changes, losses, and lessons as we learned to navigate the "new normal." You may have questions about what the changes and challenges of 2020 mean for your taxes. That's where TurboTax Live comes in, making it easy to connect with real tax experts to help with your taxes – or even do them for you, start to finish.

Not only has TurboTax Live helped millions of people get their taxes done right, but this year they've also celebrated people who uplifted their communities during a difficult time by surprising them with "little lifts" to help out even more.

Here are a few of their stories:


Julz, hairdresser and salon owner

"As a hairdresser and salon owner, 2020 was extremely challenging," says Julz. "Being a hairdresser has historically been a recession-proof industry, but we've never faced global shut down due to health risk, or pandemic, not in my lifetime. And for the first time, hairdressers didn't have job security."

Julz had to shut down her salon and go on unemployment benefits for the first time. She also had to figure out how she was going to support herself, her staff and her business during this difficult time. But many other beauty industry professionals didn't have access to the resources they needed, so Julz decided to help.

"My business partner and I began teaching basic financial literacy to other beauty industry professionals," she says. "Transitioning our business from behind the chair to an online academy was a challenge we tackled head-on so that we could move hairdressers into this new space of education, and create a more accessible curriculum to better serve our industry.

Julz connected with a TurboTax Live expert who helped her understand how unemployment affected her taxes and gave her guidance on filing quarterly estimated taxes for her small business. "I was terrified to sit at a computer and tackle this mess of receipts," Julz says, so "it was great to have some virtual handholding to walk me through each question."

In addition to giving Julz the personalized tax advice she needed, TurboTax Live surprised her with a "little lift" that empowered her to help even more beauty professionals. "When my tax expert Diana surprised me with a little lift, I was moved to tears," says Julz. "With that little lift, I was able to establish a scholarship fund to help get other hairdressers the education they deserve."


Alana, new mom

Alana welcomed her first child in 2020. "I think my biggest challenge was figuring out how to be a mom, with no guidance," she says. "My original plan was to have my mom by my side, teaching me the ropes, but because of COVID, she wasn't able to come out here."

She was also without a job for most of 2020 and struggled to find something new.

So, Alana took it as a sign: she decided to launch her own business so she could support her new baby, and that's exactly what she did. She started a feel-good company that specializes in creating affirmation card decks — and she's currently in the process of starting a second, video-editing business.

TurboTax Live answered Alana's questions about her taxes and gave her some much-needed advice as she prepared to launch her businesses. Thanks to their "little lift," they provided her with a little emotional support too.

"I got my mom a plane ticket to finally [have her] meet [my daughter] for her first birthday," Alana says. "I was also able to get a new computer," which helped her invest in her new business and work on her video editing skills. "It's helped my family and me so much," she says.


Michael, science teacher

When schools shut down across the country last year, Michael had to learn how to adapt to a virtual classroom.

"As a teacher, I had to completely revamp everything," he says, so that he could keep his students engaged while teaching online. "At the beginning, it was a nightmare because I had no idea. I had to go from A-Z within a couple of weeks."

Michael's TurboTax Live expert answered his questions about how working from home affected his taxes and helped him uncover surprising tax deductions. To top it all off, his expert surprised him with brand new science equipment and supplies, which allowed him to create an entire line of classes on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. "Now I can truly potentially reach millions of children with my lessons," he says. "I would never have taken that leap if not for the little lift from TurboTax Live."



Ricky, motivational youth speaker

As a motivational speaker, Ricky was used to doing his job in person, but, he says, "when COVID-19 hit, it altered my ability to travel and visit schools in person [because] schools moved to fully virtual or hybrid models."

He knew he had to pivot — so he began offering small virtual group workshops for student leadership groups at middle and high schools.

"This allowed me to work with student leaders to plan how they would continue making a positive impact on their school community," he says. He wasn't sure how being remote would affect his taxes, but TurboTax Live Self-Employed gave him the advice and answers that he needed to keep more money in his pocket at tax time — and the little lift he received from them has helped him serve even more students.

"[It] has been a major blessing," he says "There will be multiple schools and student groups from across the country that I can hold leadership workshops with to empower them with the tools to be inspirational leaders in their school, community, and world."

Plus, he says, it was great knowing he had an expert to help him figure out how being remote affected his taxes. "I felt confident and assured in the process of filing my taxes knowing I had an expert working with me, says Ricky. "There were things my expert knew that I would not have considered when filing on my own."

Filing your taxes doesn't have to be intimidating, especially after a year like 2020. TurboTax Live experts can give you the "little lift" you need to get your taxes done. File with the help of an expert or let an expert file for you! Go to TurboTax Live to get started.