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39. Play with “puedo.”

It means “I can,” and is almost as useful as “Tengo que . . . “ It has the same advantage that you don’t need to conjugate the verb that follows. “No puedo” is every bit as useful, of course. “Puedo hablar español.” “No puedo limpiar la casa.”

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53. Take heart from other mediocre linguists.

It's fun to read about other people's struggles with a second language. Fun, and somehow comforting. I just read Monsieur Mediocre, by John von Sothen, an American married to a French woman, living in

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