I have the following sentence:

Lemma 2 is a bit overkill for proving Lemma 3

I want to show that the proof of Lemma 3 hasn't used the full strength of Lemma 2. But I feel uncomfortable for above sentence. Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Struggling for context here, but just by parsing the sentence, I do believe you need, "...is a bit of overkill for..." – lurker Jan 12 '16 at 5:00
  • "Lemma 2 is a bit of an overkill for proving Lemma 3" seems like the way I would say it (AmE). Your example could be a shortened form. – user3169 Jan 12 '16 at 5:37

"Overkill" and "a bit" are going in opposite directions:

It was a bit of overkill to swat that fly with a hammer.

That's admissible if you want to have an ironic tone. But if you don't want to introduce such a tone, a less casual phrase that avoids the irony would be

Lemma 2 is ample proof of lemma 3.

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    Thank you! This might be a stupid question, but should we have "Lemma 2 is 'an' ample proof of Lemma 3"? – JumpJump Jan 12 '16 at 14:11
  • I think you're right that "an" is an improvement here. Evidence can be "ample proof" of something, but lemma 2 is not evidence but a theorem in an argument. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 12 '16 at 14:20

Your example is something that would probably be spoken

P1: What do you think about using Lemma2 to prove Lemma 3?
P2: That's a bit overkill

meaning that it is excessive. Using the idiom a bit makes it informal.

The meaning implies more than just the full strength not being used, it's saying that not even a small fraction of the strength is necessary.

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