qué tal /cómo es / cómo está

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Grammar / Gramática Español-Inglés' started by mmac06, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. mmac06 Senior Member

    Omaha, Nebraska
    U.S.A English
    oye, just a quick question. can anyone explain to me the difference between "que tal" "como es" and "como esta" when you want to ask "how is/was it?" or "what is it like"

  2. maria Member

    Spain / Spanish
    Ok, "¿Qué tal?" means "how are you?" but very casual. "¿Cómo está usted?" or "¿Cómo estás?" means "How do you do?" or "¿How are you?". "¿Cómo es?" means "How is it?", asking for a description of something. "¿Cómo está?" can also mean "how is he?" when refering to a person or "how is it?" when refering to a thing about which you want to know a temporary feature. For example, is you say "¿Cómo está?" refering to a soup, you are asking whether it is good, or wether it is too hot...
    I'm not sure I helped you, it is difficult to explain the differences, because it has a lot to do with the differences between "ser" and "estar", which is usually a bit difficult for english speaking people.
  3. Sandra Senior Member

    Mexico - Spanish
    ¿Qué tal?, I've always thought about it as the equivalent to What's up?

    ¿Cómo está Juan/"la sopa de tortilla"? "Está" used for short term , meaning how is Juan at this moment or the most recent news on Juan. How is the soup...you are eating now.

    ¿Cómo es Juan/"la sopa de tortilla"? "es" used for long term, meaning how is Juan, you know in general, brown eyes, always optimistic. The soup, the soup is made of chicken stock, tortilla, etc...always.

    These are the examples I can think of, I hope they help!
  4. blue-eyes

    blue-eyes Senior Member

    English - Spain
    "Qué tal" is not only a greeting, it can also be used to ask a question, as in

    ¿qué tal la película? = How was the film?
    ¿qué tal las vacaciones? = how were your holidays?

  5. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    María, you are certainly correct in noting that english speaking people have trouble with this, as we are limited to a single verb, whereas you have two.
    Still, it is not difficult to explain the difference. Ser refers to an essential characteristic, that which does not change with circumstances; estar refers to the state in which something exists, such as time or location.

    Most english speakers can comprehend this, except when it deals with location as a temporary state. In short, they just don't 'get' that 'Mi casa está en la ribera de la ría Sheepscott.' Our perception of location leads us to want to assume that it is permanent, and hence to use 'ser'.
  6. Maeron Senior Member

    Mexico City
    Canada, English
    ¿Qué tal? How are you? (informal)

    ¿Cómo está [Ud.]? How are you?
    ¿Cómo está? How is s/he? (if referring to a person)
    or How is it? (if referring to a thing)

    ¿Cómo es? What is he/she/it like?

    The difference between ¿Cómo es? and ¿Cómo está? is that one asks what someone(something) is like, and the other asks how it is.

    For example, if the question is about a man and ¿Cómo es? is asked, the answer might be... "He's in his thirties, average height, and dresses well". In contrast, some answers to ¿Cómo está? might be... "He's fine," "He was sick but he's better now," etc.
  7. mmac06 Senior Member

    Omaha, Nebraska
    U.S.A English
    thank you everyone for the help....a quick follow-up question though:

    I understand the difference between the phrases used as greetings, however the problem i have is the difference the frases when asking ABOUT something.

    for example: if i want to ask "how was your vacation?" or "what was your vacation like?". what would be the difference between "como fueron tus vacaciones" "como estan..." and "que tal..."
  8. Learning Senior Member

    Hola mmac06..
    ¿Cómo fueron tus vacaciones? ----> If someone asks you that.. you should answer "Well, I went to China for 7 days, stayed at a hotel... eat everyday in Spanish restaurants".... MEans.. How did you spends your holidays?
    ¿Qué tal tus vacaciones? -----> It is simmilar to "Cómo fueron tus vacaciones?, but is more informal and usually you should answer "They were good, I really have a great time in China" Means.. Did you have a great time...?
    ¿Cómo están tus vacaciones? isn't correct... ¿Cómo está/n..? is usually used for concrete nouns... as objects.. people... not "vacaciones"... that is an abstracte noun
    I'm Spanish and speak Spanish and a little of English.. if someone wants to add something, do it :D
  9. elgringollunya New Member

    US - English

    Por si les interesa, I have a friend from Bolivia who uses the phrase ¿Cómo es? as a greeting similar to ¿Qué tal?, in addition to the way described above. As far as I know this informal greeting is limited to Bolivia and possibly surrounding countries. I don't know how relevant my comment is to the thread, but here you have it. LOL

  10. duder Senior Member

    Yo también noté este uso de ¿cómo es? en Bolivia. Pero parece que no es muy común/aceptable usarlo así en otros países.
  11. elgringollunya New Member

    US - English
    Eso creía, pero no estaba del todo seguro. La primera vez que me lo dijo mi amigo boliviano que mencioné, me dije: ¿Que cómo es qué? También me hizo reír enterarme de que los bolivianos usan la palabra 'grampa' en vez de 'grapa'.

    Lo que más gracia me hace es oír las conversaciones entre latinoamericanos de diferentes países. Una vez, durante una conversación entre un venezolano y un boliviano (ambos amigos míos), el venezolano puso una cara graciosa y, refiriéndose al boliviano, me dijo, "Este tipo habla en china." Por cierto, sería más probable que yo dijera lo mismo del boliviano que del venezolano, pues gran parte del español que aprendí (y sigo aprendiendo) a través de los programas de tele es de Venezuela. xD

    Ay, dudo que mi comentarios en este hilo vengan al caso... pero bueno. Quizá a alguien le interese. xD

  12. fflora79 Member

    Que significa la frase: que tal te has ido?
  13. piraña utria

    piraña utria Senior Member

    Cartagena de Indias.
    Spanish - Colombian with Caribbean nuanc
    Hola Flora:

    Estimo que hay un error en tu transcripción. Debe ser "ha", no "has". Es un típico saludo, o introducción a una conversación, tendiente a que en términos generales la persona a la que se le pregunte conteste "bien" o "muy bien", etc, e iniciar una conversación.
  14. fflora79 Member

    Gracias para su ayuda. Si he entendido correctamente es sinonimo de:¿como estas?
    La frase dice:
    Me han dicho que has estado varios años en el extranjero. ¿Que tal te ha ido por aqui?
    ¿Por favor puedes explicarmela?
  15. piraña utria

    piraña utria Senior Member

    Cartagena de Indias.
    Spanish - Colombian with Caribbean nuanc
    Hola Flora:

    Como el teclado de mi PC es "en español", puedo colocar tildes; tal vez el tuyo no, pero tengo entendido que este sitio tiene algún mecanismo que lo posibilita. He corregido algunas cosas de tu frase inicial entonces.

    La idea de la pregunta, en ese contexto, es que quien la formula quiere saber cómo la está pasando la persona que se le pregunta, que ya no está en el extranjero, ahora que se encuentra de regreso a su país.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2008
  16. cero

    cero Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    North American English
    ¿Cómo le fue las vacaciones? = How was your vacation? How did it go for you?
  17. Nightroses New Member

    Rosario - Argentina
    Castellano Argentino
    It's pretty hard to learn spanish :p
  18. cero

    cero Senior Member

    Washington, DC
    North American English
    It's very simple. I started with Visual Link Spanish that got me off to a good start then I graduated to full Pimsleur series which I also found very helpful but expensive.

    Como = how
    le = for you (formal)
    fue = past tense of go (went, did go)
    las vaciones = the vacation

    "How for you went the vacation?" or for a more realistic English translation, "How did your vacation go?"
  19. javiblues New Member

    Yes. Perfect explanation. I'm from Spain
  20. nemsoc New Member

    '¿Qué tal?' In general it implies an ellypsis of one verb, usually 'estás', as has been said in this thread but it can be others. For example if you change your hairstyle and ask your friend '¿Que tal?' you are asking 'how do I look?' (¿Qué tal me queda?) If you have done an exam, your friend will ask you '¿Qué tal?', (¿Que tal lo has hecho? = How has you done it?, etc

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