Mastering the Art 101: How to Say ‘Skills in Spanish’ Easily Like a Native

by Fransic verso
Published: Updated: 26 comments
Skills in Spanish

When it comes to expressing your abilities in a new language, mastering the terminology related to your competencies can be a crucial step toward fluency and saying Skills in Spanish easily like a native.

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Whether you’re preparing for a job interview, trying to enhance your resume, or simply aiming to communicate more effectively in everyday conversations, knowing how to articulate your skills in Spanish can significantly enhance your communication.

In this post, we will delve into the nuanced world of conveying ‘skills in Spanish’, adopting the perspective of a native speaker to guide you through various contexts and expressions.

Understanding the Foundation – ‘Habilidad’ vs. ‘Destreza’

In the rich tapestry of the Spanish language, the distinction between ‘habilidad’ and ‘destreza’ is subtle yet significant, painting a more nuanced picture of one’s capabilities.

While both terms find their translation in the English ‘skill,’ their usage in Spanish captures different shades of meaning that are crucial to understanding for anyone aiming to express their abilities accurately.

Habilidad

‘Habilidad’ casts a wide net, encompassing the general capacity or aptitude a person might possess in a certain area. It’s the term you might reach for when speaking about innate or developed capabilities that don’t necessarily hinge on physical prowess or technical finesse.

For example, saying “Tengo habilidad para resolver problems” “I have problem solving skills” suggests a natural or acquired knack for problem-solving without specifying the nature of the problems or the methods used.

Destreza

Conversely, ‘destreza’ zooms in on skills that are often honed through practice, particularly those requiring physical dexterity or a high degree of technical expertise.

This term is your go-to when highlighting proficiency in tasks that demand a more focused application of skill, be it in arts, sports, or specific trades.

Describing someone’s cooking prowess as “destreza en la cocina”, “cooking skills” not only acknowledge their skill but also the expertise and finesse they bring to their culinary creations.

Grasping these distinctions allows for richer, more precise expressions when talking about skills in Spanish. Whether recounting personal abilities or appreciating others.

Some skills in Spanish:

  • Writer – escritor/escritora
  • Photographer – fotógrafo/fotógrafa
  • Designer – Diseñador/Diseñadora
  • Markerter – comercializador/comercializadora
  • Advertiser – Anunciante
  • Worker – obrero/obrera
  • Translator – traductor/traductora
  • Communicator – Comunicador
  • Leadership – Liderazgo (leader – lider)
  • Teamwork – Trabajo en equipo
  • Programmer – programador/programadora
  • Time management – Gestión del tiempo
  • Active listening – Escucha active
  • Creativity – Creatividad
  • Critical thinking – Pensamiento crítico
  • Problem solver – resolver problems
  • Decision-making – Toma de decisions
  • Work ethic – ética de trabajo

These are some of the skills and would love to add more as time goes on. Also, skills and work titles can help if you applying or looking for a job.

Choosing between ‘habilidad’ and ‘destreza’ can convey your message with the clarity and depth it deserves, bridging the gap between mere communication and truly connecting with your audience in Spanish.

Common mistakes to avoid: pitfalls on the path to fluency

Embarking on a language learning journey is an exciting endeavor, but it’s not without its challenges. One of the most crucial aspects of mastering a language is developing fluency in conversation. To achieve this, it’s essential to be aware of common pitfalls that can hinder your progress.

  1. Translating Word-for-Word:

    One common mistake learners make is attempting to translate words directly from their native language.

    While this may seem like a straightforward approach, Spanish has its own unique structure and phrases that don’t always have direct equivalents in English. This can lead to confusion and misunderstandings.
  2. Ignoring Pronunciation:

    Pronunciation is paramount in Spanish. Mastering the correct pronunciation of words and phrases is crucial for clear communication. Even minor mispronunciations can alter the meaning of what you’re trying to say.
  3. Overusing “Ser” and “Estar“:

    These two verbs are often used interchangeably, but they have subtle differences in meaning. “Ser” is used to describe permanent characteristics or states, while “estar” is used for temporary states or conditions.

    Misusing these verbs can lead to confusion and incorrect sentence construction.
  4. Neglecting Grammar:

    Solid grammar skills form the foundation of effective communication. Learning the rules of grammar, such as verb conjugations, noun-adjective agreement, and sentence structure, is essential for expressing yourself clearly and accurately in Spanish.
  5. Fear of Making Mistakes:

    The fear of making mistakes is a common obstacle for language learners. However, it’s important to remember that mistakes are an integral part of the learning process.

    Embrace your mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve. Don’t let the fear of making errors hold you back from practicing and honing your Spanish speaking skills.

The Breadth of ‘Competencias’

two people speaking

Exploring the expansive realm of ‘competencias’ opens a new avenue to discuss skills in Spanish, especially within professional and academic settings.

The term ‘competencias’ goes beyond mere abilities, enveloping the whole spectrum of knowledge, skills, and aptitudes one has honed over time.

It’s a comprehensive word that paints a fuller picture of an individual’s capabilities, making it invaluable when curating a resume or articulating one’s qualifications during a job interview.

For instance, when you’re keen on presenting yourself as a well-rounded candidate, mentioning “Mis competencias abarcan desde la comunicación efectiva hasta la gestión de equipos multidisciplinarios” “My skills range from effective communication to multidisciplinary team management.” not only showcases a range of skills but also demonstrates your awareness of how these abilities interlink to create a cohesive professional profile.

This term encourages a holistic view of your skill set, urging you to consider and communicate not just what you can do, but how your abilities synergize to add value.

Moreover, focusing on ‘competencias’ enables a strategic presentation of your professional persona in Spanish-speaking contexts. It’s not just about listing skills; it’s about weaving a narrative that highlights how your unique blend of abilities is suited to specific roles or challenges.

Discussing ‘competencias’ in an interview or on your resume can set you apart, showing potential employers or collaborators that you possess a well-considered arsenal of relevant, well-integrated skills.

In essence, understanding and utilizing the concept of ‘competencias’ allows for a richer, more nuanced articulation of what you bring to the table.

It’s about framing your skills within a broader context of applicability and impact, thus navigating professional and educational landscapes with more precision and confidence.

Articulating Your Skills in Spanish with Confidence

learning Spanish

In the journey of expressing your abilities in Spanish, the confidence with which you articulate your skills plays a pivotal role. It’s about embracing the certainty in your talents and presenting them with conviction.

Let’s shift away from tentative expressions like “Creo que soy bueno en…” “I think I’m good at…” and instead, anchor your statements in the power of certainty by saying “Soy bueno en…” “I am good at…”.

This transformation in how you express your skills does more than just change the tone of your conversation; it embeds a sense of assurance in your listener about your capabilities.

Self-expression

Moreover, the art of self-expression in Spanish benefits greatly from the practice of self-affirmation. Before you share your skills with others, take a moment to affirm them to yourself.

This isn’t just about linguistic practice, but about building an inner confidence that naturally radiates outward when you speak.

For instance, rehearsing phrases such as “Tengo la capacidad de…” “I have the ability to…” or “Estoy cualificado en…” “I am qualified in…” not only prepares you for smoother conversations but also solidifies your self-belief.

Note: The word “capacidad” can be ability or capability or capacity in English.

In addition, embracing the richness of the Spanish language to describe your skills can further enhance your confidence. Utilizing vivid verbs and detailed descriptions makes your abilities come alive for the listener.

For example, moving beyond “Soy bueno en…” “I am good at…” to “Domino…” not only demonstrates confidence but also a mastery over the language and, by extension, your skills.

Note: Domino word means “master” which used as “I master mathematics” which refer to dominate a skill being really good at it.

Remember, articulating your skills with confidence in Spanish is not merely about the words you choose; it’s about how you see yourself and how effectively you communicate that vision to others.

It’s a dance of language and self-assurance that, when performed with conviction, leaves a lasting impression.

Confident conversations: Overcoming the fear of speaking

Fear can impede one’s ability to communicate effectively, particularly in a foreign language like Spanish. Despite mastering its grammar and vocabulary, many learners still face the hurdle of speaking anxiety.

Often stemming from the apprehension of making errors, being misunderstood, or appearing foolish. Overcoming this fear is crucial for unlocking fluency in Spanish conversations.

Actively engaging

One effective strategy to combat this fear is by actively engaging with native speakers or language exchange partners. Interacting with native speakers offers real-time feedback on pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

By immersing yourself in authentic speech patterns, you’ll gain valuable insights into the language’s natural flow and nuances. Local language exchange groups or online conversation platforms provide opportunities to connect with language partners.

Shifting your focus from grammatical accuracy to conveying your message.

Excessive preoccupation with correctness can hinder fluency and spontaneity. Instead, prioritize expressing your thoughts clearly and effectively. Embrace mistakes as stepping stones on the path to mastery. Remember, every error is an opportunity for growth and improvement.

Practicing self-talk or reading aloud in Spanish.

Hearing yourself speak the language enhances familiarity and comfort with its sounds. Additionally, recording and analyzing your speech allows for self-assessment and targeted improvement.

It’s essential to acknowledge that errors are an inevitable part of language acquisition. Rather than letting the fear of making mistakes paralyze you, view them as stepping stones towards proficiency. Embrace mistakes, learn from them, and persist in your practice until you achieve your fluency aspirations.

Emphasizing Proficiency Levels

Navigating the landscape of proficiency levels in Spanish requires both precision and subtlety. It’s not enough to simply state your skill; detailing the extent of your mastery can significantly impact the listener’s understanding and perception of your capabilities.

Utilizing phrases such as “Tengo conocimientos básicos de…” “I have basic knowledge of…” allows you to set a foundation, indicating an entry-level familiarity with the subject. This is particularly useful when you’re just beginning to dip your toes into a new area or skill.

When you’re past the novice stage but not quite an expert, expressions like “Tengo experiencia intermedia en…” “I have intermediate experience in…” serve to bridge that middle ground.

It shows that you’ve moved beyond the basics, embracing a more nuanced understanding and application of the skill in question.

This level of proficiency speaks to a commitment to growth and a budding expertise.

For those moments when you’re standing on the solid ground of extensive experience and deep understanding, “Soy experto en…” “I am an expert in…” is your clarion call.

This bold statement declares not just proficiency but a high level of mastery and sophistication in your skill set. It’s an assertion of your authority and competence in the area, signaling to others that you are a go-to resource or practitioner.

Integrating these descriptors into your dialogue about skills does more than just communicate your level of expertise; it paints a vivid picture of your professional journey and personal dedication to excellence.

It’s a nuanced dance of words that, when executed with precision, elevates the conversation from a mere exchange of information to a compelling narrative of your growth and capabilities.

Incorporating Action Verbs

Diving into the dynamics of action verbs in Spanish offers a robust way to make your description of skills more vivid and impactful.

Imagine the difference it makes when you shift from a static expression like “Soy bueno en ventas” “I am good at sales” to a more dynamic and illustrative “Cierro acuerdos comerciales importantes con éxito” “I successfully close important business deals”.

This approach doesn’t just state your skill; it breathes life into it, showcasing your abilities in motion and illustrating the outcomes you achieve.

Narrate your professional prowess

Embracing action verbs allows you to narrate your professional prowess and personal hobbies with a storytelling flair that’s both engaging and enlightening.

Consider the shift from “Me gusta el diseño gráfico” “I like graphic design” to “Creo diseños innovadores que capturan la atención del público” “I create innovative designs that capture the attention of the public”. Here, your skill is not just mentioned; it’s demonstrated through the actions you take and the impact you make.

Job interviews or networking

This strategy also plays a crucial role in job interviews or networking scenarios, where showcasing your capabilities through vivid examples can set you apart.

Instead of simply stating “Tengo experiencia en liderazgo” “I have leadership experience”, opt for “Dirijo equipos multidisciplinarios hacia el logro de objetivos complejos” “I lead multidisciplinary teams towards the achievement of complex objectives”, which paints a picture of leadership in action and underscores your effectiveness.

Furthermore, action verbs invite you to reflect on the specific actions you excel at, prompting a deeper understanding and articulation of your skills.

This introspection not only prepares you for more engaging conversations but also bolsters your self-awareness and confidence in your abilities.

Incorporating action verbs into your Spanish skill set narrative transforms your dialogue from a mere listing of competencies to a compelling showcase of your talents in action.

It’s a dynamic way to connect with your audience, whether in a professional setting or casual conversation and leaves a memorable impression of your capabilities.

Interactive learning resources: enhancing your language journey

Interactive learning resources can greatly enhance your Spanish language journey.

Language exchange partners

These are individuals who are native Spanish speakers and are interested in learning your native language in return.

Engaging in conversations with them provides an opportunity for mutual learning and cultural exchange. You can find language exchange partners through online platforms or language exchange meetups in your local community.

Language learning apps

These apps offer structured lessons, interactive exercises, and audio materials to help you improve your grammar, vocabulary, and listening skills. Some popular language learning apps include Duolingo, Babbel, and Memrise.

Immersing yourself in Spanish media

Watching Spanish-language movies, TV shows, and listening to Spanish music can help you familiarize yourself with natural speech patterns, accents, and cultural references.

You can also read Spanish books, articles, and blogs to enhance your reading comprehension and expand your vocabulary.

Joining Language learning communities

These communities can be found online or through local language learning groups. Interacting with other learners and native speakers allows you to practice your Spanish, ask questions, and share your experiences.

Utilizing these interactive learning resources can greatly enhance your Spanish speaking skills and make your language learning journey more enjoyable and effective.

Discussing Skills in the Workplace

In the professional arena, the ability to articulate your skills in Spanish with precision and relevance to your field can significantly enhance your workplace communication.

This is particularly true when it comes to collaborating with Spanish-speaking colleagues or navigating a job market that values bilingual or multilingual abilities.

Jargon and terminology pertinent

Understanding the specific jargon and terminology pertinent to your industry not only demonstrates your competence but also your commitment to integrating seamlessly into a diverse working environment.

When broaching the subject of your professional skills, it’s beneficial to align your language with the context of your industry.

For instance, if you’re in the tech industry, being fluent in terms like ‘desarrollo de software’ (software development) or ‘seguridad cibernética’ (cybersecurity) can facilitate more meaningful conversations and collaborations.

Similarly, in the creative fields, terms like ‘diseño gráfico’ (graphic design) and ‘creatividad visual’ (visual creativity) can help to vividly convey your artistic capabilities.

Proactive in seeking feedback and clarification

It’s also important to be proactive in seeking feedback and clarification to ensure you’re using the most accurate and current terminology.

Engaging with Spanish-speaking peers for this purpose not only enriches your professional lexicon but also fosters a collaborative spirit.

Moreover, participating in industry-specific workshops or seminars conducted in Spanish can be a valuable strategy for both language and professional development.

Remember, the way you discuss your skills in the workplace extends beyond mere words; it’s about demonstrating your adaptability, your eagerness to learn, and your readiness to contribute effectively in a multilingual setting.

Thus, honing your ability to discuss your professional skills in Spanish is not just about linguistic proficiency but about enhancing your overall professional persona in a globalized work environment.

Casual Conversations About Skills

When it comes to more relaxed environments, the way we talk about our abilities tends to shift towards a more laid-back tone.

Expressions like “Me destaco en…” “I stand out in” or “Tengo un talento especial para…” “I have a special talent for” serves as the perfect gateway for these kinds of discussions.

This relaxed atmosphere is an excellent chance to not only share but also to imbibe the nuances of how native speakers talk about their talents and interests.

Engaging in these conversations offers a dual benefit. On one hand, you get to showcase your skills in a manner that feels natural and unforced.

On the other, it opens up a pathway to learn. Observing the colloquial language and expressions used by others when they talk about what they’re good at provides invaluable insights into the culture and linguistic subtleties that textbooks might not cover.

Employ anecdotes or brief stories

Another effective strategy in casual settings is to employ anecdotes or brief stories related to your skills. This doesn’t just make for a more engaging dialogue but allows you to paint a vivid picture of your abilities.

Instead of simply stating “Soy bueno en fotografía” “I am good at photography”, narrating a recent experience where your photography skills came into play, like “Capturé unas fotos increíbles durante mi último viaje” “I captured some amazing photos during my last trip”, can stir curiosity and admiration in a more profound way.

Remember, the goal in these casual exchanges is not just to inform but to connect. By sharing your skills in a storytelling manner, you’re not just talking about what you can do; you’re inviting others into your world.

This approach not only makes the conversation more memorable but fosters a deeper bond between you and your listeners.

The Role of Culture in Discussing Skills

Navigating the intricacies of cultural norms is pivotal when articulating your skills in Spanish, as the approach can vary significantly across different Spanish-speaking countries.

For instance, in some Latin American cultures, there’s a greater emphasis on humility and understatement when discussing one’s abilities.

Phrases like “Me consideran bueno en…” or “I consider me good at…” “Algunos dicen que tengo talento para…” “Some say I have a talent for…” subtly implies your skills while respecting cultural expectations of modesty.

This indirect method allows you to share your competencies without appearing boastful, aligning with the societal value placed on humility.

On the other end of the spectrum, in certain contexts, particularly within professional settings, directness and clarity about one’s skills and accomplishments are not just appreciated but necessary.

Here, stating “Soy reconocido por mi habilidad en…” “I am recognized for my ability/skill in” or “He sido premiado por mi destreza en…” “I have been awarded for my skill in” can be seen as a straightforward assessment of your capabilities and achievements, devoid of arrogance.

It’s a reflection of confidence in one’s abilities and a recognition of one’s contributions, fitting perfectly within environments that value assertiveness and individual achievement.

Moreover, the cultural dimension also influences how receptive your audience might be to the way you present your skills. In more collective cultures, emphasizing how your skills contribute to the team or community.

Such as “Mi capacidad para trabajar en equipo ha contribuido al éxito de proyectos anteriores” “My ability to work as a team has contributed to the success of previous projects”, can foster a stronger connection with your listeners, showcasing not just your abilities but your alignment with shared goals and values.

Understanding and adapting to these cultural nuances ensures that the discussion of your skills in Spanish is not only effective but also respectful and engaging, fostering a deeper connection with your audience.

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26 comments

Richard Lowe March 13, 2024 - 6:57 am

Never learned Spanish, even though I was married to a Guatemalan woman for 12 years. She spoke English so I didn’t have the need. However, Spanish would be a useful language to learn. Then at least I’d know what she was saying when she cursed at me!

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:09 pm

Well, that’s awesome, but it could be great to know some words when traveling.

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Emily March 13, 2024 - 7:37 am

These are all great tips for language learning! I’d like to try learning Spanish once I master my Italian. Spanish is such a beautiful language!

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:10 pm

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts about this post.

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Beth March 13, 2024 - 9:35 am

This is such a great resource. Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the States. The more you know, the more you can communicate.

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:10 pm

Thank you so much! I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts about this post.

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Ben March 13, 2024 - 9:35 am

I’m bookmarking this. I’ve been trying to improve my Spanish, and this is such an awesome list. Super informative, too.

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:10 pm

Great, hope this can help you improve your Spanish.

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Kimberley Asante March 13, 2024 - 10:32 am

Learning new skills in Spanish sounds like an exciting adventure! It’s amazing how language learning opens up opportunities to explore different cultures and perspectives. Whether you’re diving into Spanish literature, mastering grammar rules, or practicing conversational skills, immersing yourself in the language will undoubtedly enhance your communication abilities and broaden your horizons. ¡Buena suerte en tu viaje de aprendizaje!

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:11 pm

Right? It’s important to learn and improve our language.

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Julie March 13, 2024 - 5:00 pm

I just learned that soy diseñadora! I really need to get back to learning Spanish, this article has really inspired me!

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:12 pm

That’s awesome, thank you for reading and glad this inspired you.

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Rosey March 13, 2024 - 5:42 pm

I’m going to tell my grown kids to describe my cooking skills this way, instead of the way they do, lolol. My son in law speaks fluent Spanish and isn’t teaching it to his girls. Killing me. I don’t know why!! It’s hard to keep my mouth shut. I mentioned it to my daughter once and she didn’t acknowledge, so I didn’t bring it up again.

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:12 pm

Great, it does help a lot. Thank you fo reading and sharing your thoughts with us.

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Ebony March 13, 2024 - 8:38 pm

Great article! Understanding the nuances between ‘habilidad’ and ‘destreza’ adds depth and precision to the rich tapestry of the Spanish language. While both translate to ‘skill’ in English, their distinct usage unveils layers of meaning crucial for accurate expression of one’s abilities.

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:13 pm

Thank you so much! I appreciate you reading and commenting your thoughts with us. It does sound the same but it has different use.

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Laura March 13, 2024 - 8:42 pm

Great! Thanks for sharing!

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Fransic verso March 13, 2024 - 10:13 pm

Thank you so much!

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Carol Colborn March 14, 2024 - 3:48 am

2 things have helped me: 1. Staying in à Mexican resort 3 months every winter for the past 4 years and 2. Having a native tongue that is rooted in Dpanish ( Tagalog). Still fluency études me. But the rule expression oneself vs being grammaticales correct helps!

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Fransic verso March 15, 2024 - 10:45 pm

That’s awesome, its nice these helped you. Thank you for reading and sharing that with us.

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Olga March 14, 2024 - 8:53 am

I still haven’t started learning Spanish, but I`ll. There are so many nuances in every language. Thank you for sharing detailed information.

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Fransic verso March 15, 2024 - 10:42 pm

That’s awesome, wish you fun journey learning. Spanish language.

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Marysa March 14, 2024 - 9:34 am

Such a good Spanish lesson! Thanks for putting this together and walking through different phrases. Very helpful to know and for aiding the learning process.

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Fransic verso March 15, 2024 - 10:42 pm

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts about this lesson.

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Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place March 14, 2024 - 10:32 am

I’ve always wanted to learn Spanish. Thank you for this Spanish lesson article. I’ve bookmarked it. :)

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Fransic verso March 15, 2024 - 10:41 pm

Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts about this post.

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