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'Self-regulation is easier said than done'

Since 'said' is a verb why 'easily', an adverb is not used? 'Easier can only precede 'said' if 'said' anyhow working as a noun but that seems very far-fetched.

I have read sentences where with easier we use infinitives which is correct.

This is one of those resolutions that is easier to say than do. —The Guardian

2 Answers 2

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“Easier said than done” is an expression, first of all, so not all rules may always apply. It’s important to keep that in mind. That being said, in this case, grammatical rules do somewhat still apply.

Here, “said” actually describes “self-regulation;” that is, it is a past participle acting as an adjective.

The theremin is hardly played.

I am more frustrated than annoyed.

Self-regulation is easier said than done.

Notice the role of the verb “is/am” in these examples. I will end by saying that this sentence structure is rarely seen outside of this specific expression. That is, “easier said than done” is an extremely specific and common expression.

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You are correct; many prescriptivists would complain about this sentence, arguing that it should be:

Self-regulation is more easily said than done.

However, in some situations, an adjective is often used instead of an adverb. This is common with comparative and superlative forms, e.g.:

She talks more quickly than I do.
She talks quicker than I do.

Sometimes the "adjective" form is even required:

Out of all of today's revelations, that one hit me most hardly. <-- Incorrect.
Out of all of today's revelations, that one hit me hardest. <-- Acceptable.

Note that the "adjective" actually functions as an adverb. You may be interested in the concept of "flat adverbs", which is similar.

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