OMG!: How lớn Use Sugoi in Japanese : You’ve sầu heard it before. You’re walking through a café in nhật bản, và you pass a table full of young women. A waiter comes around the corner with a birthday cake lit up with showering sparklers. The women at the table clasp their hands together in awe. - YouTube Premium MemberShip

OMG!: How to Use Sugoi(すごい) in Japanese


“Sogoiiiii!” they say, almost too loudly (okay, yes, too loudly).

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You pass another table full of salarymen wearing suits and ties.

“Sugoi desu ne,” one of them says using the more polite phrasing. Perhaps he’s speaking to a senior colleague or boss. You pass a final table of just two women this time, both of them sophisticated in dress and poise.“Sugoku samui desu yo ne,” one of them says as she draws a steaming mug of tea to lớn her lips.What are these people talking about? What is this ubiquitous Japanese word すごい (sugoi), và how vị we use it? Today, we’re going khổng lồ answer these questions.

Sugoi (great, wow, amazing, etc.) is an i-adjective that can also be converted inkhổng lồ an adverb. It’s most often written in hiragamãng cầu, but it’s not uncomtháng lớn see it written using kanji as well. Here is what it looks lượt thích when written using kanji.

凄い (Sugoi)

Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of this kanji in the next section.

凄 (sai, sei): Meaning of Sugoi(すごい)

This kanji is pronounced “sai” or “sei” when read by itself. When it’s attached khổng lồ a word, it takes on a different sound. In the word sugoi, it makes up the “sugo” part of the word, và the hiragana character “i” is then attached khổng lồ the kết thúc lớn size the i-adjective sầu “sugoi.”

The character “sai” is formed by taking four simpler characters, called “radicals,” and grouping them together. These four radicals are 冫(hyou) on the left side; 十 (juu) & 彐 (kei) on the top right; & 女 (jo) on the bottom right.

冫+ 十 + 彐 + 女 = 凄

The first radical, hyou, means “water” or “ice.” The second radical, juu, means the number “ten.” The third radical, kei, is a variant of an old kanji meaning “pig’s head.”The fourth radical, jo—or the more familiar onna—means “woman.”When grouped together, these four radicals form “sai.”The meaning of sai is formulated by combining the individual radicals hyou, juu, kei, và jo.

Hmm…let’s see…water, ten pig’s heads, và women…

Your guess is as good as mine as to lớn how those four things wind up with the meaning of “great/wow/amazing.” Perhaps in ancient Japanese times water, women, và pig’s heads were hot commodities, so the people threw them all together into lớn one kanji và screamed, “Sugoiiii!”

Actually, I think you’re better off asking a historian or linguist about this one…

Now, let’s take a look at the next section to lớn learn more about sugoi và how it is used in modern Japanese.

How lớn Use Sugoi(すごい) in Conversation

If you’ve ever seen a Japanese TV show, one of the most comtháng exclamations people use is “Sugoi!” The person saying it often elongates the “o” at the end of the word in accordance with how enthusiastic they are.

When the New National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympics was completed in 2019, you bet your horses that the great unveiling sparked a bunch of “sugoi”s on TV.

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You can use sugoi as an exclamation for anything you find impressive. If one of your friends gets a new job, you can just say, “Sugoi!” or “Sugoi ne!” Here are some examples of different situations to use sugoi as an exclamation:

A:昨日野球の試合に勝ったよ!Kinou yakyuu no shiai ni katta yo!We won our baseball game yesterday!B:すごい!Sugoi!Awesome!A:私は私の名前を漢字で書けるようになりました!Watashi wa watashi no namae wo kanji de kakeru you ni narimashita!I can write my name in kanji now!B:すごーい!おめでとう!Sugooooi! Omedetou!Great! Congratulations!Apart from an exclamation meaning “great” or “awesome,” sugoi has other usages as well. For one, it is an adjective, so it can be used to describe nouns. In this sense it is used to describe how impressive someone or something is.

水原希子はすごい美人ですね!Mizuhara Kiko wa sugoi bijin desu ne!Kiko Mizuhara is so beautiful!あれはすごい映画だった!Are wa sugoi eiga datta!That was a great movie!毎年ここら辺ですごい花火大会をやってるよ!Maitoshi kokorahen de sugoi hanabi taikai wo yatteru yo!They hold a spectacular fireworks display around here every year!You can also combine sugoi with other adjectives. In this sense, it functions as an adverb in the sentence khổng lồ add emphasis. Something worth noting in this case is that although it is technically grammatically correct to lớn change sugoi khổng lồ sugoku in its adverbial khung, most people break this rule in daily casual conversations.

彼女はすごい(すごく)可愛いですよね!Kanojo wa sugoi (sugoku) kawaii desu yo ne!She is so cute!あのオートバイはすごい(すごく)うるさい!Ano ootobai wa sugoi (sugoku) urusai!That motorcycle is super loud!日本の祭はすごい(すごく)楽しいよ!Nihon no matsuri wa sugoi (sugoku) tanoshii yo!The festivals in nhật bản are unbelievably fun!And, of course, sugoi can also be used as an adverb khổng lồ add emphasis khổng lồ verbs.

雨がすごい(すごく)降ってるよね!Ame ga sugoi (sugoku) futteru yo ne!It’s really raining hard outside, isn’t it!筋トレが終わったらすごい(すごく)疲れる。Kintore ga owattara sugoi (sugoku) tsukareru.I get crazy tired after lifting weights.門限までに帰らなかったら母はすごい(すごく)怒っちゃう!Mongene made ni kaeranakattara haha wa sugoi (sugoku) okocchau!My mom gets insanely angry if I don’t get trang chủ by curfew!

すごい (Sugoi):

Let’s revisit the examples from the café in the opening section.

In the first example, you walked past a table of young women at a birthday buổi tiệc nhỏ. Perhaps they called the café in advance to say that it was someone’s birthday, but, rest assured, when the cake came out showering sparks into lớn the air, they were genuinely surprised.

“Sugoiiiii!” they shouted, which is no different than young English-speaking women shouting, “OMG!!!!”

If there’s one thing young women in Japan are known for shouting it’s, “Kawaiiiii!” However, “Sugoiiiii!” comes in at a cthảm bại second place. In English, we are inclined khổng lồ say things like, “That’s awesome!” or “Oh my god!” when we’re met with something that exceeds our expectations or surprises us. The Japanese express the same sentiment by saying, “Sugoiiiii!”

Now, let’s look at the salarymen example. Sugoi can also be used in more formal situations by adding “desu.”

You also don’t even have sầu khổng lồ be genuinely surprised. Sometimes our friends or associates tell us something that we may not find particularly impressive sầu, but we want to lớn be polite và show that we care about the people we’re speaking lớn. In order lớn vì this, we can attach a number of different particles to the end of sugoi. This allows us lớn be more mellow without the need khổng lồ scream at the top of our lungs. Some examples of particles we can attach to sugoi are ne, domain authority yo ne, & desu yo ne.

A: Kyou watashi no aka-chan ga hajimete arukimashita! (My baby took its first steps today!)B: Sugoi desu ne. (Great!)A: Kinou inu ni chin-chin o oshieta! (I taught my dog to sit up and beg yesterday!)B: Sugoi ne. (Wow.)A: Boku wa backflip dekiru yo! (I can vày a backflip!)B: Sugoi da yo ne! (Fantastic!)Now, let’s look at the two women having a chat over tea. In this situation, sugoi is used as an adverb khổng lồ describe samui (cold). Therefore, it functions more lượt thích the word “really” or “exceptionally” in this sentence.

“Sugoku samui desu yo ne.” (It’s really cold, isn’t it?)When we want to turn i-adjectives into lớn adverbs that describe other adjectives (or verbs), we change the -i at the end of the word to lớn a -ku. So, instead of sugoi, we have sầu “sugoku” because we are turning it into lớn an adverb.

A: Pizza wa dou? (How’s the pizza?)B: Sugoku oishii yo! (It’s really good!)A: Avengers wa mimashita ka? (Did you see The Avengers?)B: Un, sugoku omoshirokatta! (Yeah, it was so good!)A: Disneylvà wa tanoshikatta? (Did you have fun at Disneyland?)B: Un, sugoku tanoshikatta! (Yeah, it was really fun!)

In Conclusion

Although sugoi originally meant “terrible” or “hideous” in the past, in modern times it has taken on a new meaning such as “great” or “awesome.” Sugoi can be used as an exclamation khổng lồ express how impressed you are with something. It can also be used as an adjective sầu lớn describe nouns. You can also use it as an adverb to lớn place emphasis on other adjectives or verbs—much like the words “crazy” or “insane” bởi vì in English.

Now that you know how to use sugoi in modern-day Japanese, it’s time to get out there and practice with your Japanese speaking partner! Keep at it, and you’ll be sounding lượt thích the natives in no time!

There are many things in our lives that surprise us or surpass our expectations. Therefore, in these situations, we can use the word sugoi lớn show people that we are impressed.

How are you going lớn practice what you’ve sầu learned today? I recommover getting out there và telling a Japanese speaker how exceptional you think sushi is.

Sushi wa sugoku oishii desu ne!

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