25 Super Useful Ways to Use ‘Tal’ in Spanish
Hola! ¿Qué tal? (Hello! How are you?)
This is just one of the many ways to use tal in Spanish.
Tal in Spanish is one of my favorite words. It’s short yet versatile.
Read this guide to discover the secrets of tal and how to use it in a sentence. If you’re wondering, “What does tal mean in Spanish?” keep reading to learn the answer, including ready-to-go expressions and questions with tal to practice and use on a daily basis.
¿Qué tal si empezamos?
How about we start?
Tal as an Adjective
An adjective is a part of speech that describes a noun. Tal works as an adjective. In this case, the noun it “describes” refers to something mentioned before.
To be more specific, tal can work as an indefinite adjective or demonstrative adjective. Let’s see both cases here and how you translate them into English.
Tal as an Indefinite Adjective
Indefinite adjectives describe nouns in a general way. And tal often works the same way as an indefinite adjective does. In this case, the tal translation would be “such.”
La decisión causó tal polémica que al final no se hizo nada.
The decision caused such controversy that in the end nothing was done.
Este cantante despierta tal entusiasmo que es difícil conseguir entradas a sus conciertos.
This singer arouses such enthusiasm that it is difficult to get tickets to his concerts.
When used with proper names, it suggests that the person you’re speaking about is not a close acquaintance. It’s difficult to translate this specific tal in Spanish to English.
Estaba allí una tal Cristina.
A Cristina was there.
El tal señor Pedro nos mintió.
That Mr. Pedro lied to us.
Tal as a Demonstrative Adjective
Demonstrative adjectives point out something or someone for emphasis. Tal works as a demonstrative adjective when it refers to something mentioned before or it transmits the meaning of “of that kind” or “of that class.”
Hicieron el pedido de los libros y esperaron con paciencia los tales libros.
They ordered the book and waited patiently for those books.
Las tormentas destrozaron el parque. Nadie esperaba tormentas tales.
The storms wrecked the park. No one expected such storms.
Tal as an Adverb
Adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. They give us information on how we do things. This is where tal in Spanish comes in again.
As an adverb, the tal meaning in Spanish is de esta manera, así, or de esta suerte. In English, you’ll translate it into “in such a way” or “just as.” This use is uncommon nowadays, but you still hear it on occasion.
Tal me miró, que me dio miedo.
He looked at me in such a way that I got scared.
Tal as an Adverbial Clause
Much more common is the use of tal in adverbial clauses. Adverbial clauses groups of two or more words that function as an adverb. Tal forms an adverbial clause with cual and como.
Tal cual and tal (y) como mean “the exact way in which,” “just like,” or “just as.”
Me puedo imaginar la vida tal cual será dentro de mil años.
I can imagine life the exact way in which it will be a thousand years from now.
Déjalo tal cual.
Leave it just as it is.
Cuando regresé, estaba tal como lo dejé.
When I came back, it was just as I had left it.
Tal y como están las cosas hoy, creo que sigan juntos.
As things stand today, I think they will stay together.
If you want to learn more about adverbs and adverbial clauses, check out:
Tal as a Pronoun
Pronouns are short words that replace nouns. Like “it” instead of “table.” Thanks to them, we sound less repetitive in speech and writing.
When tal is a pronoun, it works as a demonstrative masculine or feminine pronoun or as a neutral demonstrative pronoun.
Demonstrative pronouns demonstrate, show, or indicate something to the person you’re speaking to. Such as “this one” or “that one.”
Tal as a Masculine or Feminine Demonstrative Pronoun
Tal refers to a “he” or “she” who has just been mentioned or to an attribute.
Ella es mi amiga y es importante que la trates como tal.
She is my friend and it is important that you treat her as such.
Sus amigos dejaron pronto de ser tales.
His friends soon ceased to be friends.
Tal as a Neutral Demonstrative Pronoun
As a neutral demonstrative pronoun, tal translates to “such thing,” “things like that,” and others. It refers to something mentioned before.
Nunca se atreverían a decir tal.
They would never dare to say such a thing.
See the following articles for more information about pronouns and demonstrative pronouns:
- A Simple Guide to Demonstrative Pronouns in Spanish
- 3 Types of Spanish Pronouns to Perfect Your Fluency
Expressions with Tal
Many expressions in Spanish with tal exist that people often use. Learn when and how to say them to impress your Spanish-speaking friends.
Tal to Express Purpose
You can also use tal to express purpose, and there are two possible ways to do it:
1. Con tal de + infinitive
You’ll usually translate it into “in order to.”
Haré cuanto pueda, con tal de ayudarte.
I will do everything I can in order to help you.
2. Con tal de que / con tal que + verb in the subjunctive mood
If you use this expression, you need to know how the subjunctive works in Spanish, and you’ll often translate it into “provided that,” “as long as,” or “in the case that.”
Intentaré hacerlo, con tal que no me pidas más.
I’ll try to do it, as long as you don’t ask me for more.
Con tal de que pase el examen, me doy por satisfecha.
As long as I pass the test, I am satisfied.
This is probably one of the most common phrases with tal in Spanish. It means “maybe” or “perhaps.” In Latin América, according to El Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (the Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary), you can write it as one word: talvez. It is usually followed by the subjunctive mood.
Tal vez pueda ayudarte.
Maybe I can help you.
Tal vez tengas razón.
Perhaps you’re right.
Tal para cual
This expression with tal is also common. You use it to say that two people are two of a kind. It may sometimes have a negative connotation and mean that one is as bad as the other.
Estos dos son tal para cual.
These two are cut from the same cloth.
Use this expression at the end of a clause to add a term that is similar to what you’ve already said.
A mi hija le gustan los unicornios, hadas y tal.
My daughter likes unicorns, fairies, and things like that.
Ahí venden frutas, verduras y tal.
They sell fruits, vegetables, and so on.
¿Qué tal? in Spanish – Questions with Tal
You’ll often phrase a question with tal to ask how people or things are. These questions are informal and there is no direct translation. Let me show them to you so that you know how to answer.
¡Hola! ¿Qué tal? ¿Todo bien?
Hi! How are you? All good?
¿Qué tal tu día?
How’s your day going? / How was your day?
¿Qué tal va tu español?
How is your Spanish going?
Use Tal in Spanish in a Conversation
How do you feel now about using tal in Spanish? With all the different ways you’ve learned, you’re taking your Spanish to a completely new level. Take a look at the DRAE (The Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary) entry for tal to learn more or check the Panhispanic Dictionary of Doubts (Dccionario Panhispánico de Dudas) to see an in-depth explanation in Spanish.
Now, keep studying and get ready for all the perks that knowing Spanish brings. Being bilingual can get you more friends and more money! In fact, there are 42 million native speakers in the U.S. according to CNN—and being bilingual may earn you a significant pay raise!
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