Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sugoi すごい, 凄い

The word sugoi すごい is one of those that show up a lot in anime and yet nobody knows for sure what it really means. Character sees thing, yells sugoi!, whispers sugoi, writes sugoi down on a paper, even, and yet its real meaning remains a mystery. Well, no more!

Translation

Literally, sugoi すごい translates to "unbelievable" or "incredible" or "awesome" or "horrific" or "amazing." But that doesn't really matter.

What really matters is the fact that sugoi is often used as an expression, so the way it's interpreted and translated relies heavily on the situation and the context. The single word sugoi can be translated to any of these English phrases:
  • sugoi すごい
    You're good.
  • sugoi すごい
    That's amazing.
  • sugoi すごい
    O.M.G.!!!
  • sugoi すごい
    I didn't even know the human body could do that.
  • sugoi すごい
    That's a disproportionate quantity of tuna you got there.

As you can see, the word sugoi can be used for anything that's extreme and unusual. Sometimes it's used for good things, like to praise someone for their mad skills. Other times it's used in amazement. Other times in disbelief. It really varies.

サーバルちゃんすごーい! すごいわ えっへん transcript from Kemono Friends Anthology Comic Japari Café Compilation
Manga: Iroiro na Aji いろいろなあじ, by Haruse Hiroki 晴瀬ひろき
From: "Kemono Friends Anthology Comic Japari Café Compilation," Kemono Furenzu Ansorojii Komikku Japari Kafe Hen けものフレンズ アンソロジーコミック ジャパリカフェ編
  • Saabaru-chan
    sugooi!

    サーバルちゃん すごーい!
    Serval-chan amaaazing!
    • sugooi すご
      suggoiごい
      suggooi すっごーい
      Ways to say sugoi with effect.
  • sugoi wa
    すごいわ
    [It's] amazing!
  • e'hen えっへん
    Eh heh.

Sugee すげぇ, すげー

The word sugee すげぇ, also spelled sugee すげー, is a colloquialism of sugoi. It means the same thing, except it's a wrong different way of saying it.

右手一本で天気が変わっちまった!!! すげぇぇぇぇぇ これが…オールマイト!!! transcript from manga Boku no Hero Academia 僕のヒーローアカデミア
Manga: Boku no Hero Academia 僕のヒーローアカデミア
  • Context: All Might punched a villain so hard it started raining. (seriously.)
  • migite ippon de
    tenki ga kawacchimatta!!!

    右手一本で 天気が変わっちまった!!!
    He changed the weather with just his right arm!!!
    • Literally:
      With one right arm the weather ended up changed!!!
    • ippon 一本
      One cylindrical object. (one arm, in this case.)
  • sugeeeeee
    すげぇぇぇぇぇ
    AWESOOOOOOME
  • kore ga...
    Ooru Maito!!!

    これが…オールマイト!!!
    This [is]... All Might!!!

Adjective

Although sugoi is often used as an expression, technically sugoi is an adjective. Specifically, it's an i-adjective, which's an adjective that ends with -i ~い, like sugoi すご does.

This means that you can put sugoi すごい before nouns to qualify them as "awesome" or "terrific" or "incredible" or "unbelievable" and so on.
  • sugoi kao すごい顔
    Incredible face.
    What a weird face! (body parts list)
  • sugoi bakuhatsu すごい爆発
    Incredible explosion.
    What a powerful explosion!
  • sugoi waza すごい技
    Incredible technique.
    What an masterful technique!
  • sugoi katana すごい刀
    Incredible sword.
    What a wonderful sword!

Conjugation

Since sugoi すごい is an i-adjective, it can be inflected like one. The following are inflections of sugoi:
  • sugoi すごい
    Incredible.
  • sugokatta すごかった
    Was incredible. (past.)
  • sugokunai すごくない
    Not incredible. (negative.)
  • sugokunakatta すごくなかった
    Was not incredible. (past negative.)
  • sugoku すごく
    Incredibly. (adverb.)
  • sugokute すごくて
    Incredible and... (te-form.)
  • sugosugiru! すごすぎる!
    Too incredible! (stem plus sugiru すぎる auxiliary.)

Sugokatta すごかった

The past form, sugokatta, would be used, literally, for things that were incredible in the past. For example:
  • kinou wa sugokatta 昨日はすごかった
    Yesterday was incredible.

Sugokunai すごくない

Combined with the nai ない auxiliary adjective we have the negative form sugokunai. So, obviously, it means something "is not incredible."
  • bouryoku wa sugokunai 暴力はすごくない
    Violence isn't incredible.
  • bouryouku wa sugoku nanka nai 暴力はすごくなんかない
    Violence isn't anything like incredible.

However, most of the time, sugokunai is used to ask an "isn't it?" style question. For example:
  • kore wa sugokunai これはすごくない
    This [is] not incredible. (assertion.)
  • kore wa sugokunai? これはすごくない?
    Isn't this incredible? (question.)
実力テスト全部0点だった!! アホだな マークシートだったのに!! すごくない!? transcript from manga Aho Girl アホガール
Manga: Aho Girl / Aho Gaaru アホガール
  • jitsuryoku tesuto
    zenbu rei-ten datta!!

    実力テスト 全部0点だった!!
    [I got] zero [in] all proficiency tests!!
    The proficiency tests were all zero-points!! (literally.)
    • rei
      Zero.
  • aho da na
    アホだな
    [You] are dumb.
  • maaku shiito datta noni!!
    マークシートだったのに!!
    Even though it was [multiple-choice questions]!!
    • maaku shitto マークシート
      Mark sheet. (made-up English, wasei-eigo.)
      A bubble sheet, or optical answer sheet. That sheet for multiple-question tests with circles you fill and a computer scans and says your score.
  • sugokunai!?
    すごくない!?
    Isn't it incredible!?

Sugoku すごく

The word sugoku すごく is the adverbial form of sugoi. It's used to make other words "incredible," that is, you use it to intensify other adjectives.

すごくアホだな transcript from manga Aho Girl アホガール
Manga: Aho Girl / Aho Gaaru アホガール
  • sugoku
    aho da na

    すごくアホだな
    [You] are very dumb.
  • ureshii 嬉しい
    Happy. Glad.
  • sugoku ureshii すごく嬉しい
    [I'm] very happy. [I'm] very glad.
  • samui 寒い
    Cold.
  • sugoku samui すごく寒い
    [It's] very cold.

それは もちろん 全部すっごくおいしいよ! transcript from Kemono Friends Anthology Comic Japari Café Compilation
Manga: Iroiro na Aji いろいろなあじ, by Haruse Hiroki 晴瀬ひろき
From: "Kemono Friends Anthology Comic Japari Café Compilation," Kemono Furenzu Ansorojii Komikku Japari Kafe Hen けものフレンズ アンソロジーコミック ジャパリカフェ編
  • Context: Alpaca Suri made three types of tea, asked how they tasted.
  • sore wa
    それは
    That [is]
  • mochiron
    もちろん
    Of course.
  • zenbu suggoku
    oishii yo!

    全部すっごく おいしいよ!
    [They were] all really delicious!

The meaning of the word sugoi makes it a bit harder to use it as adverbs for verbs, but it can happen too.
  • tsukareru 疲れる
    To tire. To get tired.
  • sugoku tsukareru すごく疲れる
    To tire incredibly. To tire a lot.
    [It's very tiring.]

すごい vs. 凄い

When written with kanji, sugoi is sugoi 凄い. Note, however, that sugoi is normally written without kanji, as sugoi すごい.

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