518 - すぎる
Self-control has never been my forte.
On a given day, I'm liable to say any of the following phrases:
- I ate too much.
- I played video games for too long.
- I spent too much money.
But hey, it's not my fault! I'm pretty sure it's in the genes. 10,000 years ago, when one of my ancestors came across a giant tree filled with fruit, I'm pretty sure they would have eaten until they were about to puke from being too full. I'm just carrying on the family tradition.
As you're likely to have guessed by now, today's grammar point is about saying things are "too ~"
JLPT N4: すぎる (too)
The little person inside of you that loves to complain is going have a great time with this grammar point. It's too salty. It's too expensive. She's too friendly. I'm too tired to study.
The word "too" is an adverb, but in Japanese we use a verb.
Check out this dictionary entry:
(1) to pass through; to pass by; to go beyond
(2) to pass (i.e. of time); to elapse
(3) to have expired; to have ended; to be over
(4) to exceed; to surpass; to be above
(5) (as 〜に過ぎない, etc.) to be no more than ...
(6) (often used after adjective stems or the -masu stems of verbs) to be excessive; to be too much; to be too ...
You'll come across all of those meanings of 過ぎる during your studies. The only one you need to worry about today, though, is #6.
Here's an example of it in action:
この みそしる は ちょっと しょっぱすぎる。
This miso soup is a little too salty.
Literally: “this + miso soup + は + a little bit + is too salty.”
The i-adjective しょっぱい means "salty."
By dropping the い and adding すぎる, we get しょっぱすぎる, "too salty."
Not too hard, maybe... yeah?
In addition to the stem of i-adjectives, すぎる can also attach to the ます-stem of verbs and to na-adjectives:
ます ＋ すぎる
い ＋ すぎる
na-adjective ＋ すぎる
食べる → 食べすぎる
たべる → たべすぎる
to eat → to eat too much
高い → 高すぎる
たかい → たかすぎる
expensive / high → too expensive / too high
有名 → 有名すぎる
ゆうめい → ゆうめいすぎる
famous → too famous
There is also one exception to these conjugation rules - when using the verb ない (to not be):
例外（れいがい // exception）：
ない → なさすぎる
there isn't / don't have → there isn't enough of / don't have enough of
Note: Writing "there too isn't" or "too don't have" would just sound strange, yeah?
We'll see all of these in sentences... right now!
えいが の チケット が せんはっぴゃく えん？ いくらなんでも たかすぎます。
A movie ticket is 1,800 yen? That’s too expensive, no matter how you look at it.
Literally: “movie + の + ticket + が + 1,800 yen? + no matter how you put it / whatever the circumstances may be + is too expensive (lit. is too high)”
かれ は ゆうめい すぎて、 ぼうし と サングラス が てばなせない。
He’s too famous, so he has to wear a hat and sunglasses everywhere he goes.
Literally: “he + は + is too famous (and), + hat + と + sunglasses + が + cannot part with.”
パイナップル を たべすぎて くち の なか が いたい。
I ate too much pineapple, and the inside of my mouth hurts.
Literally: “pineapple + を + ate too much (and) + mouth + の + inside + が + painful.”
さいきん の わかもの は よく が なさすぎる。
Young people these days just aren’t hungry enough.
Literally: “recently / lately + の + young people + は + greed / craving + が + is too not enough of.”
Note: This "hunger" is referring to "craving" or "greed." The "hunger" for success and riches, for example. It may help to imagine a middle-aged Japanese man saying this one.
And that's all for this one.
I use this grammar point every day, so I highly recommend mastering it.
After all, aren't you just too excited to be learning this fascinating language?