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Old August 02, 2009, 05:58 PM
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Question ¿Qué tal?

I have always been told that ¿Qué tal? means "how are you?" Well, I guess that it is the same sense as "how are you?", but I don't believe that's an accurate translation.

The first part of my question, then, is what exactly does ¿Qué tal? mean? I mean, que means generally "what", and tal means generally "thus" or "such". I don't necessarily get "how are you?" from that. I guess that I'm asking how the sense of the meaning works.

The second part of my question is about the other uses of "¿Qué tal?". I heard something in a podcast recently that you can use it as a more generic beginning of a question to find out how something is. The person talking about it said that it eliminates the need for verb tense. For example, I could say "¿Qué tal tu madre?" for "How is your mother?" and "¿Qué tal la fiesta?" for "How was the party?" (that happened last night). Right??

What other uses for this nifty little phrase exist?
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  #2  
Old August 02, 2009, 06:39 PM
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The interrogative qué is sometimes translated as how, as is the exclamation.

The expression qué tal is used as you've stated. As such, it can have several translations. Idiomatic expressions usually don't make any sense if translated word-for-word (transliterated). You just have to understand how the idiom is used.

Eliminating the need for the tense is only half of the equation. There's no verb at all AND tense has to be deduced from context.
For example, without any context to go on, "¿qué tal la fiesta?" could mean a past event, a present event, or a future event. In English, any of these translations would work:
Did you like the party?
How was the party?
How's the party going?
What's the party like?
How are the plans for the party going?
What kind of party will it be?
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Old August 02, 2009, 06:43 PM
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OH!!!!!!!! Thanks, Rusty!! That is totally wonderful. I love generally applicable phrases like that. Word.
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Old August 02, 2009, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
The interrogative qué is sometimes translated as how, as is the exclamation.

The expression qué tal is used as you've stated. As such, it can have several translations. Idiomatic expressions usually don't make any sense if translated word-for-word (transliterated). You just have to understand how the idiom is used.

Eliminating the need for the tense is only half of the equation. There's no verb at all AND tense has to be deduced from context.
For example, without any context to go on, "¿qué tal la fiesta?" could mean a past event, a present event, or a future event. In English, any of these translations would work:
Did you like the party?
How was the party?
How's the party going?
What's the party like?
How are the plans for the party going?
What kind of party will it be?


Thanx a lot Laepelba for asking, because I was wondering about this myself the other day, as I have come across this expression in these different meanings and more or less deduced that hence it would be applicable in these different cases (as in : supposition).

It' s a deceptively simple phrase but it's really so versatile in its use!

¡Gracias por explicarlo Rusty!


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Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
Word.
¡ Palabra!

Last edited by EmpanadaRica; August 02, 2009 at 06:52 PM.
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Old August 03, 2009, 06:38 AM
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I'm really loving the whole concept of using ¿Qué tal? all over the place!
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Old August 03, 2009, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laepelba View Post
I'm really loving the whole concept of using ¿Qué tal? all over the place!
Haha.. yes indeed!! It offers so many possibilities..

By the way, how do you say ' None of your business' or ' What's it to you' or ' Mind your own business' in Spanish?
In case there is a '¿qué tal?' question that is preferably not answered..
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Old August 03, 2009, 07:02 PM
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Impolite ways:
No es asunto tuyo. (None of your business)
"A ti qué" or "Qué te importa". (What's it to you)


More polite answer (and preferable):
Prefiero no contestar/responder. (I'd rather not answer)
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Old August 03, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Haha ¡no te preocupes! No tuvo la intención de verdaderamente usar las palabras/maneras descortéses
Es sólo que tenía curiosidad

¡Gracias!
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Old August 03, 2009, 08:23 PM
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Ya sabrás cuándo usarlas... sólo quise resaltar que hay que tener cuidado.
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Old August 03, 2009, 08:42 PM
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¡Qué sí, verdad por supuesto! ¡Gracias es muy amable de ti advertirme!

¡¡ Tendré cuidado utilizarlas!!
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