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“Nice and easy does the trick, Potter,” he growled.

I feel "Nicely and easily does the trick" is correct, because "nicely and easily" modifies the verb 'does'. I'm wondering why the author wrote "Nice and easy does the trick" instead? Is it a colloquial usage?

  • I don't think these are adverbial modifiers of does but predicate adjectives in an elliptical construction with "manner" being understood . A manner that is nice and easy is called for. Not that the word manner has been dropped; but what is missing is that which can be modified by the adjectives "nice and easy". – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 18 '18 at 12:46
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo You meant it can be construed as: Potter does the trick in a nice and easy manner. Is that what you are saying? – dan Dec 18 '18 at 12:58
  • No. First, "To do the trick" means "to succeed, to suffice". It was coming loose but a bit of duct tape did the trick. A piece of tape secured it sufficiently. What I'm saying is that we can understand the sentence as saying "a manner that is nice and easy will suffice here", rather than expecting the adverbs nicely and easily as you do, modifying does. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 18 '18 at 13:02
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo I now see your point. The nice and easy manner suffices to do the trick, right? – dan Dec 18 '18 at 13:43
  • Yes, a [ ... ] that can have nice and easy predicated of it does the trick. Or You being | acting | behaving nice and easy does the trick. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 18 '18 at 13:51
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Yes. "Nice and easy" is a colloquial phrase that is common in this context.

"Nice and easily" is probably more grammatical but no one says it.

  • Is it also regional? – dan Dec 18 '18 at 4:00
  • Don't think so. It's pretty ubiquitous. Certainly common in the US and UK. – farnsy Dec 18 '18 at 6:40
  • Do you have other examples off the top of your head? – dan Dec 18 '18 at 7:50
  • Whoa, pardner. Easy does it. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Dec 18 '18 at 12:42
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    Not at all a contradiction. Many colloquial phrases are not perfectly grammatical and many grammatical alternatives are rarely or never used. Grammar is a set of rules, not a list of what is commonly said. – farnsy Dec 18 '18 at 16:10

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