After I made a speech (not in Japanese) a friend told me 「発表頑張り過ぎた」. I am struggling with this sentence and I cannot determine whether it is positive or negative. The way I spontaneously interpret it is:

For this speech, you did your best too much.

Which, of course, does not make any kind of sense. Was he trying to warn me that I tried too much, that the speech was not so good, not natural enough, etc.? Or is it just a simple well done-type of thing?

I would be interested in knowing the real meaning of this expression. (This is not a question about how to use 過ぎる grammatically speaking.)

2 Answers 2


I'm not a native speaker but will give my best shot at this one.

I think in this case a good translation which carries the nuance of the original statement is:

You really overdid the presentation!

I feel this can be interpreted in either a positive way (you did awesome!) or negative way (you did more than you really needed to!). I think you can only tell which from the context, which includes the intonation/expression of the person speaking this, and how hard you really did try.

If I didn't have any extra context, I would interpret this as meaning "you did a great job, but you did more than you really had to".

  • 1
    +1. 頑張りすぎ/やりすぎ is literally negative, but it can be positive when said as a sarcastic(?) joke. Whether he was smiling or not is important.
    – naruto
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 5:58
  • With no other context, I'd also guess that it was faint praise in the guise of a joke.
    – Cong Hui
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 6:41

I'm not native, but from my experience, 頑張り is pretty much always positive. I would think it means something like, "You did very well on this speech," so yes, just a simple well done, as you said. 過ぎる can just mean over, not necessarily "too much;" perhaps "You gave 110% on this" - you did more than your best - would be a closer translation. Again, I'm not native, so I hope someone else comes along to help you, but that's just my take on things.

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