9

I have searched many online dictionaries but I cannot find structure like this:

I remembered Dad saying it could just as easy be us.

So, Could you explain to me what the meaning is?

The full text is here:

There was one thing I still didn’t understand: Why had federal agents surrounded Randy Weaver’s cabin in the first place? Why had Randy been targeted? I remembered Dad saying it could just as easy be us. Dad was always saying that one day the Government would come after folks who resisted its brainwashing, who didn’t put their kids in school. For thirteen years, I’d assumed that this was why the Government had come for Randy: to force his children into school.

Educated by Tara Westover

21

The correct expression is:

It could just as easily be us.

If you are sure you read/heard it said as "easy" then this is probably an example of an eggcorn.

The expression "could just as easily" means that another possibility is just, or almost as likely as the actual outcome.

For example, if you saw a car accident happen to somebody else just a few cars ahead of you, you might well say "that could so easily have been us", because had circumstances been ever so slightly different that really might have been you in front instead.

Sometimes though, people use the expression to make "vain" claims - for example if somebody you knew from school became a famous singer and you said "that could so easily have been me" you would have had to have the same talent, opportunities and ambition to achieve that, and that isn't "easy".

  • 3
    @Graham You would be correct if you were making the statement now and referring to the past. But in the passage the author is actually quoting the past. – Astralbee Jun 4 '18 at 13:11
  • 1
    @Andrew They are both grammatically correct, but the writer "remembered Dad saying" it, and if Dad said it in the present tense ("that could be us") then that is what he would recall in the present. In both the examples I created I used "could have been", but look at the context of the OP's example. They were looking at someone else's house being surrounded/raided. It was ongoing, so at the time they would have said "it could just as easily be us [getting raided]". – Astralbee Jun 4 '18 at 15:18
  • 2
    @Astralbee ah, well see that's the kind of sound logical thinking that makes perfect sense ... and yet native speakers ignore it time and again. "I remembered Dad saying it could have been us" would pass completely unremarked as a standard, backshifted, indirect quote. – Andrew Jun 4 '18 at 15:28
  • 1
    @Astralbee If it was a direct quote, it would have quote marks around it. If it doesn't, these aren't the exact words spoken by Da, so the author is (now) summarising something about the past in their own words. So past tense would be more formally correct. Informally of course it's no big deal either way - and the OP's quote is clearly written informally enough to include a colloquial misuse of "easy"/"easily". (Whether that misuse itself is a direct quote from Dad or how the author talks, of course we can't know from this.) – Graham Jun 4 '18 at 15:38
  • 1
    @Graham I didn't say it was a "direct quote". I don't need quotes to say that I remember my dad telling me that his childhood pet was a dog. And I wouldn't say that his childhood pet is a dog, nor would my dad have used "is" because the dog was long dead. Whether quoting directly or referring to something you were told, the tense of their statement would remain as it was told once you have established that you are quoting from the past. – Astralbee Jun 4 '18 at 15:41
5

I remembered Dad saying it could just as easy be us.

This seems to be saying "I remembered Dad saying it could just as easily have been us."

In other words, the Government could have come to our house (instead of coming to Randy's house) and that would have been just as easy for the Government.

0

I think this is the same as the phrase I use (and which has a wiki article) https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/there_but_for_the_grace_of_God_go_I

Proverb: there but for the grace of God go I

A recognition that others' misfortune could be one's own, if it weren't for the blessing of the Divine, or for one's luck.

Humankind's fate is in God's hands.

More generally, our fate is not entirely in our own hands.

he is using the last meaning, the govt. have come for Randy today it could be us next week.

  • Eh? How this have anything to do with OP question? – RubioRic Jun 4 '18 at 11:20
  • @RubioRic because it is another phrase that means exactly the same thing. But focuses more on the luck/fate aspect than other answers. – WendyG Jun 4 '18 at 11:55
  • But OP has not asked about similar phrases, she has asked about the meaning of an specific one. And the original phrase is not talking about fate or destiny, Goverment can easily go against the protagonist's family because their children didn't go to school. – RubioRic Jun 4 '18 at 12:02
  • @RubioRic isn't English lovely I read the sentence differently to you. – WendyG Jun 4 '18 at 12:05
  • English may be lovely but I read the full text not just the sentence. So I can offer a better help understanding it to others. – RubioRic Jun 4 '18 at 12:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.