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In my textbook, the usage of 「〜あまり」 is described as follows:

〜すぎるので、〜すぎるために (so … that)

However one of the usage sentences is written as follows:

試験の問題は易しかったのに、考えすぎたあまり、間違えてしまった。

In this case, isn't the meaning of "Doing something so extremely that it results in an abnormal situation" repeated? So maybe it has to be written in this form:

試験の問題は易しかったのに、考えたあまり、間違えてしまった。

But my Japanese friend says that it is quite awkward. Why is it?

  • 4
    The preceding part before あまり needs to have some attribution that stands for excessiveness, if not すぎる. For example, 熟考のあまり would be fine. – user4092 Aug 6 '17 at 0:37
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According to 明鏡国語辞典:

あまり【余り】
🈩〘名詞〙
➌《感情や動作を表す連体修飾語を受けて、全体で副詞句を作る》それが原因となってある結果が引き起こされる意を表す。~が過ぎたその結果として。「喜び[苦しさ]のあまり泣き出した」「勢いのあまり転がり落ちた」「成功を急ぐあまり失敗した」

So I think you could rather think of this あまり as "as a result of~~".

考えすぎたあまり、間違えてしまった。
As a result of overthinking / reading too much into it, I made a mistake.

「考えすぎる」 = "to think too much" "to read too much into something"

「〜あまり」 is described as follows:
〜すぎるので、〜すぎるために (so … that)

I think that means you could rephrase the sentence as:

試験の問題は易しかったのに、考えすぎたので、間違えてしまった。 
試験の問題は易しかったのに、考えすぎたために、間違えてしまった。
"... because I thought too much / read too much into it, I made a mistake."

Examples:

「嬉しさのあまり泣き出した」≂「嬉しくて/嬉しすぎて泣き出した」
"started to cry because of joy"
「急ぐあまり失敗した」≂「急いだために/急ぎすぎたために失敗した」
"failed as a result of hurrying"

But...

考えたあまり、間違えてしまった。

would mean "As a result of thinking, I made a mistake."

  • 1
    明鏡は本当にこの辺りの説明がしっかりしてますね… – naruto Aug 7 '17 at 4:42
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In my textbook, the usage of 「〜あまり」 is described as follows:
〜すぎるので、〜すぎるために (so … that)

In this interpretation you'll certainly get lost in a repeated maze.

The text should have been as:

〜すぎるあまり、〜すぎるあまりに (so … that)

Then, the following sentence will be interpreted without repeating.

試験の問題は易しかったのに、考えすぎたあまり、間違えてしまった。

The question of the exam was easy, but I thought it so much that I made a mistake.

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