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Old 9th June 2009, 10:02 AM   #1
AMC
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Default Qué tal vs Qué tal estás

I thought that I was comfortable with using ¿Qué tal? and ¿Cómo estás?, but listening to some Spanish news online, I have come across ¿Qué tal estás? and ¿Qué tal están?

Can someone clarify the difference between ¿Qué tal estás? and simply ¿Qué tal? or ¿Cómo estás?

Also is ¿Qué tal estás? formal or informal, or best avoided?

Many thanks.
AMC
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Old 9th June 2009, 12:39 PM   #2
Legazpi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AMC View Post
I thought that I was comfortable with using ¿Qué tal? and ¿Cómo estás?, but listening to some Spanish news online, I have come across ¿Qué tal estás? and ¿Qué tal están?

Can someone clarify the difference between ¿Qué tal estás? and simply ¿Qué tal? or ¿Cómo estás?

Also is ¿Qué tal estás? formal or informal, or best avoided?

Many thanks.
AMC
"¿Qué tal estás?" is used when specifically asking "how are you?" and "¿Qué tal están?" is used when specifically asking "how are they?" or "how are you [plural & formal]?" (depending on the context).

If you just say "¿Qué tal?" then it's more like asking how things are in general, although people often use "¿Qué tal?" when wanting to know how the person they are talking to is.

"¿Qué tal estás?" is informal (tú) while the formal equivalent is "¿Qué tal está?" (usted)

Last edited by Legazpi; 9th June 2009 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 9th June 2009, 03:53 PM   #3
Fernando_79
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No lo hubiera explicado mejor !
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Old 10th June 2009, 08:28 AM   #4
AMC
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Thanks for the help. I am still a bit unclear as to whether either ¿Qué tal? or ¿Qué tal estás/n? is a bit more colloquial. I'm under the impression that ¿Qué tal estás/n? is less frequently used. Is this correct or not?

Again, many thanks in anticipation.

AMC
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Old 10th June 2009, 09:13 AM   #5
Pippa
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If anything, ¿Qué tal? is more informal than ¿Qué tal estás?, but both are widely used.
¿Qué tal? is short for ¿Qué tal estas?, but also anything that you know what are you talking about, for example, is somebody has just done an exam, or an interview, or has just been travelling, you can ask ¿Qué tal?, meaning ¿Qué tal el viaje?, ¿Qué tal te fue el examen? , ¿Qué tal te ha ido en la entrevista?
As Legazpi says,
¿Que tal? means something more general, something like: How is life?.
¿Qué tal estás? is more specific of how the person is feeling.
The most formal forms are:
¿Que tal está? (usted, 2nd person singular formal)
¿Qué tal están? (ustedes, 2nd person plural formal)

In my mother's village in the Picos de Europa they say ¿Qué? to mean ¿Qué tal?/¿Qué tal estás?/¡hola!, but it is the only place I have heard it.
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Old 10th June 2009, 10:07 AM   #6
greytop
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Or of course there is also

cómo adverbio
  1. (de qué manera) how;
    ¿~ estás? how are you?;
    ¿~ es tu novia? what's your girlfriend like?;
    ¿~ es de grande? how big is it?;
    ¿~ te llamas? what's your name?
aren't people inventive
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