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:
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:
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:
If we use "Con tal de" (without que) you then need an infinitive. For example:
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:
In the example above, the main clause "Clara paying for his course" will only happen if "he studies everyday" [= the condition].
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)
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