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Is there any difference in meaning between the following sentences ?

  • Como estás viejo!
  • Como estás de viejo!

I have heard the latter in the TV series Narcos and it sounded odd to me. Context: Pablo Escobar is a fugitive from the police, but he decides to stroll in a Medellin park anyway. Pablo sits in a bench in the park and he fantasizes that his dead cousin Gustavo comes to talk to him. Pablo tells him that he has turned 44 years the day before and Gustavo answers "Como estás de viejo, Pablo!" .

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  • A bit of context would be helpful.... Feb 1 '20 at 20:25
  • It seems to me that the context is irrelevant in this case. Anyway, I have added it. Feb 1 '20 at 22:58
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¿Cómo estás, viejo?

means "How are you, old man?". In some very colloquial settings, "viejo" might also mean "father".

Without a comma, both

¡Cómo estás viejo!

and

¡Cómo estás de viejo!

mean "You are so old!". These two expressions do not sound very natural to me, as I am more used to hearing "¡Qué viejo estás!" with this meaning. But Google shows that ¡Cómo estás de viejo! is also used. The version without "de" ("¡Cómo estás viejo!") appears in some literature, for example, César Vallejo's Complete posthumous poetry, poem "El buen sentido", page 6 after the introduction:

-Hijo, ¡cómo estás viejo!

Y desfila por el color amarillo a llorar, porque me halla envejecido [...]

However, I have never heard the form "¡cómo estás viejo!" without "de" in Spain, and am not able to find more recent examples. It might be old usage.

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  • Cómo estás de viejo -- to me this sounds like I can't believe how old [and useless] you're getting. An attitude I see reflected in my teenager often (not explicitly -- but I can tell that's what he's thinking). Also: what a useless geezer you are or even just "Geezer!" Feb 1 '20 at 20:23
  • @aparente001 It seems to me that "Que viejo estás!" gives the same idea, right? Feb 1 '20 at 23:25
  • @AlanEvangelista - Thanks for the context -- it was quite helpful for me and I feel more confident about my explanation. To me, "Que viejo estás" sounds like it would be more likely to be a slightly sarcastic comment. This is a very subtle thing and if a friend of yours says that to you some day, I think you'll be able to figure it out from the context. Feb 2 '20 at 2:51
  • Why «It's not correct to use"¡Cómo estás viejo!" with the meaning "You are so old!".»? This is an incorrect claim in my view, would you mind justifying it? In fact an ngrams search for both makes the option you discard the "correct" one. Also, there is no comma in the OP. You were asked to compare "¡Cómo estás de viejo!" with "¡Cómo estás viejo!" (the comma makes a huge difference).
    – c.p.
    Feb 8 '20 at 4:46
  • @c.p. Can you give me a link where "cómo estás viejo" means "you are so old"? For me, a Google Search does not provide any result with this meaning. All the results from Google do have the comma. At least in my region of Spain, the version without the comma is never used.
    – wimi
    Feb 8 '20 at 8:26
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Here

¡Cómo estás de viejo!

gives some flavour to

¡Cómo estás viejo!

but both mean the same (there is no comma). An Ngrams-search shows that the former does not even appear once, and the latter does and precisely in the meaning "you are so old" which is erroneously claimed by the other answer as incorrect use.

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