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The two words seem to mean somewhat the same (too much), so:

  • what are the grammar differences?
    • Is it correct that demasiado can be used with nouns (Hay demasiada comida = There is too much food), adverbs (Vas demasiado rápido = You walk too fast), adjectives (La lámpara es demasiado brillante = The lamp is too bright), and verbs (Bebe demasiado = He drinks too much), while en exceso is typically used only with verbs (Bebe en exceso = He drinks too much/excessively)?
  • are there other word usage aspects to keep in mind?

1 Answer 1

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As rightly pointed out, "demasiado" can be an adjective (in which case it varies in gender and number to agree with the noun it refers to):

  • demasiado alcohol (masculine, singular)
  • demasiada comida (feminine, singular)
  • demasiados autos (masculine, plural)
  • demasiadas personas (feminine, plural)

or an adverb, in which case it can intensify an adjective:

  • demasiado brillante

another adverb:

  • demasiado rápido (short for: rápidamente)

or a verb:

  • bebe demasiado

In the three cases above, where "demasiado" is an adverb, it can be replaced with "excesivamente" in the same position and with exactly the same meaning:

  • excesivamente brillante
  • excesivamente rápido
  • bebe excesivamente

The problem with "en exceso" (semantically identical to "excesivamente") is that it can be used mostly with adjectives and verbs alone, while it sounds awkward with another adverb. Additionally, with adjectives it can be placed either before or after them:

  • en exceso brillante
  • brillante en exceso
  • bebe en exceso
  • ?en exceso rápido / ?rápido en exceso (The sentence: El auto iba en exceso rápido / rápido en exceso, sounds awkward to me. This would be much better: El auto iba excesivamente rápido / demasiado rápido)
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  • Thanks! Is what you have suggested more or less the same for both Spain (not talking about Catalan or Basque) and Latin America, or more specific for Latin America?
    – YakovL
    Jan 31 at 10:16
  • I guess it is. I am from Argentina but, when it comes to these grammar issues, there is usually not much difference between peninsular and Latin American usage.
    – Gustavson
    Jan 31 at 11:08
  • Ya veo, muchas gracias!
    – YakovL
    Jan 31 at 13:01

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