Con tal de que / Con tal de (subordinate purpose and conditional clause)

In Spanish, you can use the connective "con tal de que" to introduce a subordinate clause to either express a purpose or a condition. 

Expressing a purpose

Have a look at these examples:

Te di el dinero con tal de que me dejaras en paz.
I gave you the money so you would leave me alone.

Yo te hubiera cuidado eternamente con tal de que estuvieras cerca de mí.
I would have looked after you forever so that you would be near me.

The same thing could be expressed with: "...para que..."

Te di el dinero para que me dejaras en paz.

Yo te hubiera cuidado eternamente para que estuvieras cerca de mí.

Note that you must use a verb in the subjunctive after "con tal de que". You cannot use the indicative.

This would be incorrect:

Te di el dinero con tal de que me dejas en paz.

This means that when you see "con tal de que" you have to use the context to understand if the clause that comes after it indicates purpose or condition (see below for condition). The structure is identical but the translation into English would be different. Take a look:

Purpose:

Te regalo mi pulsera nueva con tal de que me dejes en paz.
I [will] give you my new bracelet so that you leave me alone.

Condition:

Te regalo mi pulsera nueva con tal de que me dejes en paz.
I [will] give you my new bracelet as long as you leave me alone.

If we use "Con tal de" (without que) you then need an infinitive. For example:

Ella solo fue a la conferencia con tal de tener a su jefa contenta.
She only went to the conference in order to keep her boss happy.

Acepté su invitación con tal de no escuchar más sus súplicas.
I accepted his invitation so that I wouldn't listen to him begging any more.

Expressing a condition

Con tal de que can also introduce a condition that is required for the main clause to be fulfilled. Here are some examples:

Clara le paga el curso con tal de que él estudie todos los días.
Clara is paying for his course provided he studies everyday.

In the example above, the main clause "Clara paying for his course" will only happen if "he studies everyday" [= the condition].

La policía ofrecería protección al criminal con tal de que él confesara los nombres de los jefes de la banda.
The police would offer protection to the criminal as long as he gave the names of the gang's leaders.

Here, the main clause "the police offering protection" will only happen if "he gave the names" [= the condition].

Notice again how, when it is expressing a condition, the tenses are in the subjunctive, not the indicative.

Other connectives conveying the same conditional idea are:

  • siempre que...  (as long as)
  • a condición de que... (as long as)
  • con la condición de que...  (as long as)

 

Examples and resources

Te di el dinero con tal de que me dejaras en paz.
I gave you the money so you would leave me alone.


Clara le paga el curso con tal de que él estudie todos los días.
Clara is paying for his course provided he studies everyday.


Te regalo mi pulsera nueva con tal de que me dejes en paz.
I [will] give you my new bracelet as long as you leave me alone.


Acepté su invitación con tal de no escuchar más sus súplicas.
I accepted his invitation so that I wouldn't listen to him begging any more.


Te regalo mi pulsera nueva con tal de que me dejes en paz.
I [will] give you my new bracelet so that you leave me alone.


Ella solo fue a la conferencia con tal de tener a su jefa contenta.
She only went to the conference in order to keep her boss happy.


Yo te hubiera cuidado eternamente con tal de que estuvieras cerca de mí.
I would have looked after you forever so that you would be near me.


Con tal de que Alfredo viniera conmigo al teatro, le dije que le compensaría con algún regalo.
In order to get Alfredo to come with me to the theatre, I told him I'd make it up for him with some present.


La policía ofrecería protección al criminal con tal de que él confesara los nombres de los jefes de la banda.
The police would offer protection to the criminal as long as he gave the names of the gang's leaders.


Q&A Forum 0 questions, 0 answers

I'll be right with you...