Tel quel

À vendre tel quel
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French Expression

Meaning as is, without modification, just like that; mediocre
Literally as such
Register normal / informal
Pronunciation [tehl kehl]
IPA   [tɛl kɛl]

Usage notes: The French expression tel quel is made up of two adjectives, tel and quel, which means that it has four forms depending on the gender and number of the noun it modifies:

  singular plural
masculine tel quel tels quels
feminine telle quelle telles quelles

In the normal register, tel quel means “as it is, without modification.”

Par exemple…

Laisse-le tel quel.   Leave it as it is, Don’t change anything.
Je ne peux pas accepter votre proposition telle quelle.   I can’t accept your offer as it stands.
J’ai mis les restes dans le frigo tels quels.   I put the leftovers straight into the fridge (still in the pots).

 When used with a verb form such as à vendre or vendu, tel quel is no longer a pair of adjectives but rather an adverbial phrase. Thus, it’s invariable, even when referring to something feminine such as a house or car.

À vendre tel quel, Vendu tel quel   For sale "as is"

Synonymous expression: en l’état

Informally, tel quel means “mediocre, cheap, poor quality”:

Il loue une chambre telle quelle.   He rents a cheap room.
Ils sont tels quels, ces vêtements.   This clothing is of poor quality.

Somewhat synonymous: la pacotille – cheap piece of junk.
Also see bon marché.

 Grammatical note

Tel quel is an ellipsis:

tel que + third person subject pronoun elle + être conjugation (est / sont)

Literally, this means “such as it is” or “such as they are.” So when you say, for example, laissez la maison telle quelle, what you’re really saying is laissez la maison telle qu’elle est.

Very informally, tel quel is further reduced to tel que:

Laisse-le tel que.   Leave it as it is, Don’t change anything.
Il loue une chambre telle que.   He rents a cheap room.
J’ai mis les restes dans le frigo tels que.   I put the leftovers straight into the fridge (still in the pots).

 Related lessons

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Tel quel - French expression

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