Tal como, tal y como, and tal cual are used in Spanish to express that something is exactly as it was and hasn't undergone any change. In English this is generally translated as "just as..., in the same condition... ". It can also take the same meaning as conjunction "como", as in "just as/just like/like", acting as a subordinate manner clause, telling how something is done/was done/will be done...
Tal cual is slightly more formal than the other two but it is still commonly used. And tal y como, with "y", is slightly more emphatic.
Let's see some examples to see how it is used:
Me devolvió el libro tal como se lo presté, en perfectas condiciones.He returned the book to me just as I lent it to him, in perfect condition.
La película era tal cual me la describiste. Me gustó mucho.The film was just as you described it to me. I loved it.
No te preocupes, te haré un descuento tal como hablamos ayer.Don't worry, I will give you a discount just as we agreed yesterday.
Me gustas tal cual eres. No cambies.I like you just as you are. Don't change.
Ayer por fin conocí a Eduardo. Es tal y como lo había imaginado.Yesterday I finally met Eduardo. He is just as I had imagined him.
We cannot say tal y cual though.
See also Sin/sin que + infinitive/subjuntive (subordinate manner clause)
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