From a part of Pollyanna written by Elenor Porter:

"There ain't no tellin'," sobbed Nancy. "She lay back that white an' still she might easy be dead; but Miss Polly said she wa'n't dead--an' Miss Polly had oughter know, if any one would--she kept up such a listenin' an' a feelin' for her heartbeats an' her breath!"

In the cited passage, what part of speech is easy, and what is its meaning??

  • I wonder why learners of English choose such dated works as Pollyanna to read. If you want a free text, at least F. Scott Fitzgerald is closer to our time and his English is not cryptic.
    – pazzo
    Nov 7 '14 at 0:59

It is an unmarked adverb.

In Standard English, it would be easily, but it's common in a number of dialects to turn adjectives into adverbs without using the -ly suffix.

  • 1
    For a familiar example, compare the "Turn around real slow" instead of the standard "really slowly" in pretty much any western or noir.
    – Amadan
    Nov 7 '14 at 0:54
  • 1
    The use of easy as an adverb without a special ending is comparable to German where the position before an adjective shows its function of adverb. Possibly it is German influence.
    – rogermue
    Dec 21 '14 at 4:37

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