Grammar

VCONJ + SUGIRU (すぎる)


The structure “Verb (conjunctive base) + SUGIRU (すぎる)” is used to express excess. In other words, you’ll use it to say “eat too much, drink too much, read too much…” in the case of verbs, or “too tall, too fast...” for adjectives.  過ぎる (sugiru) is actually a verb that means “to exceed, to go beyond.” 

To construct the present form, we have to take the conjunctive/connective base of the verb. It’s the one used to construct the polite form, especially ます. Then, simply attach すぎる.

すぎる behaves like a verb. It can be used with the present tense, past tense, conditional, etc.

Here are some examples when it’s used with the present tense:

(かれ)(さけ)()みすぎる
Kare wa osake o nomisugiru.
He drinks too much alcohol.

(ちち)タバコ()いすぎます
Chichi wa tabako o suisugimasu.
My father smokes too much.

秀吉(ひでよし)さん()すぎる
Hideyoshi san wa nesugiru.
Hideyoshi sleeps too much.

This structure is also used with adjectives (too tall, too easy, etc.). For adjectives in い, replace the final い with すぎる. For adjectives in な (also known as semi-adjectives), replace な with すぎる.

この宿題(しゅくだい)(むずか)しすぎる
Kono shukudai wa muzukashisugiru.
This homework is too hard.

竜夫(たつお)にぎやかすぎる(まち)()んでいる
Tatsuo wa nigiyakasugiru machi ni sunde iru.
Tatsuo lives in a city too busy.

An exception with the adjective いい (good): it becomes YOSUGIRU (良すぎる)

(あね)(あたま)()すぎます
Ane wa atama ga yosugimasu.
My sister is too smart.
Literally: My sister’s head is too good

The sentences can also be written in negative form to say “not … not too much.”

(かれ)(さけ)()みすぎない
Kare wa osake o nomisuginai.
He does not drink too much alcohol.

綾子(あやこ)さんケーキ()べすぎません
Ayako san wa keeki o tabesugimasen.
Ayako doesn’t eat too much cake.

For adjectives in い, replace the い with すぎない. For adjectives in な, remove the な and replace it with すぎない.

この宿題(しゅくだい)(むずか)しすぎない
Kono shukudai wa muzukashisuginai.
This homework isn’t too hard.

The adjective いい becomes 良すぎない YOSUGINAI.

There is another form of negation that indicates a low rate or quantity. It consists of replacing the plain negation ない with なさすぎる (or with なすぎる*).

It can be translated as “don’t + verb + enough.”

(かれ)(ちゃ)()まな()すぎる
Kare wa ocha o nomana (sa) sugiru.
He doesn’t drink enough tea.

(ちち)果物(くだもの)()わな()すぎます
Chichi wa kudamono o kawana (sa) sugimasu.
My father doesn’t buy enough fruits.

For adjectives in い, replace い with くなさすぎる.

For adjectives in な, replace な with ではなさすぎる.

*Samuel E. Martin A Reference Grammar of Japanese: “Excessive verbal are also produced by attaching -sugiru to virtually any adjective base including na- ‘lacking’, which (as with the evidential nasa-soo-da §20) takes the special shape nasa- to yield nasa-sugiru ‘is over lacking’ [jocular]... ”. According to this book, both forms are tolerated. However, some Japanese linguists disagree with this idea, while other linguists agree saying that the form in -na is from the Meiji era and the form in -nasa is from the Shouwa era, in other words the most recent forms (and then the more popular). This question divides linguists, and no proper explanation has ever been given.


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