When I was playing a video game a few months ago, I noticed that some of the characters (mostly young teen females, in case it matters) kept saying ~すぎ instead of ~すぎる.

For example, when one of the characters was being kind of rude, another character said to them:

言いすぎ! (You're saying too much!)

I think I heard the exact same line from a young adult male in an anime too.

Why was すぎ used instead of just すぎる? When would it be better to use one or the other?

4 Answers 4


Note how this use of the noun form of a verb by itself is similar to, for instance, owari! (Finished; ended).

(The end of the algorithm exercise!)

You could make the -i word a complete sentence like for instance this with -ni narimasu, which is very humble and polite:

owari ni narimashita
Lit: something has reached the ending state. (Something has ended.)

In the case of 言い過ぎ, since this is abrupt, what is being elided/understood is the copula だ which would make it a complete sentence:

Lit: It is saying too much. (That is an exaggeration or overstatement!)

Or with more verbiage, adding the topic "sore wa":


References for 言い過ぎ: http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/leaf/thsrs/10848/m0u/

So the reason why 言い過ぎ was used rather than 言い過ぎる is because the character wants to say to the other that whatever the other said just now was an exaggeration, rather than to say "you are exaggerating".

Similarly, if the character wanted to say "That is a lie!", he or she might say "uso!" which is a noun by itself or "uso da!". ("usoooooo..." would be more like "no way!" which is different from "You are lying!") To call someone a liar: "uso tsuki!" This is another noun, where a full sentence might be, e.g. "omae ga uso tsuki da yo!".


〜すぎ is the noun form of the verb 〜すぎる.

In other words, 〜すぎ would be followed by です, and すぎる would become すぎます, in です・ます form.

Sometimes these are interchangeable and it just depends if you want a noun or a verb, but in your example 言いすぎる on its own would not have the same meaning. You'd have to say something like "言いすぎてるじゃん!".


The key difference is that ~すぎる expresses time and ~すぎ does not.

多すぎる will be too many

多すぎた was too many

多すぎ too many

~すぎ is a noun as mentioned by ジョン, however it is also a verb in it's continuative form. That is to say a verb that is happening at the same time as the rest of the sentence (now unless otherwise indicated).

Due to that fact 多すぎ is a grammatically complete sentence fragment, but so is 多すぎだ

  • 2
    I don't think this is an issue of time, so I find this explanation to be problematic. Just to be sure, would you mind clarifying your answer?
    – rintaun
    Apr 28, 2012 at 3:40
  • @rintaun From the perspective of meaning, the only difference between the two forms is one conveys time and the other doesn't. This means that the forms that do convey time in their meaning can only be used in the correct context, while forms without a time element to their meaning can be used in any context since they will inherit the time element from that context. The other people here are attempting to point out how they are grammatically different, yet they are ignoring the differences in meanings.
    – Ian
    Apr 28, 2012 at 17:21
  • 1
    多すぎかった is ungrammatical, at least in the standard dialect. Apr 30, 2012 at 12:21
  • Perhaps that is a typo for 多すぎた? Even so, the English translation in that case would be more like "has become too many"
    – ジョン
    Apr 30, 2012 at 23:34
  • @ジョン yes that is what I meant. My basic grammar seems to be falling apart since I moved away from Japan.
    – Ian
    May 1, 2012 at 0:53

Was looking for this and wanted to add "In casual Japanese, sugiru is frequently shortened to the nominal form sugi, as in hayasugi (早すぎ, too early) or ososugi (遅すぎ, too late)." from https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2015/06/22/language/much-enough-just-dial/#.WpQLfGpuaUk .

So perhaps it is just a simple casual contraction and nothing else?

  • The site referenced is behind a pay wall
    – justerman
    Dec 8, 2022 at 13:30

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