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I am searching for ways in casual (informal, everyday) language to express elegantly that something which initially seemed (or could have seemed) a difficult task working out surprisingly easy once you started doing it.

Referring to all dictionaries in my reach I so far found only

Bob's your uncle

So, if this is true, I could say

We worked on that problem and were prepared to spend several hours on it, but - Bob's your uncle - a solution came up.

for what in German might be expressed by

Wir beschäftigten uns damit und waren darauf eingestellt, dass das Stunden dauern würde, aber dann, schwuppdiwupp, fand sich eine Lösung fast von selbst.

However, I am not sure if Bob's your uncle is really appropriate, or if it should be used rather in a family situation, with children etc. but not so well in ordinary (say: workplace) situations. It was simply the only thing I found for schwuppdiwupp so far.

PS: I might add that schwuppdiwupp in German is an onomatopoetic expression depicting some objects (timber, or a piece of soap, or whatever) that move surprisingly quickly and without apparent effort.

  • Bob's your uncle is not for family, it's for saying "Wow, you did it!" Do you want to say "It's a piece of cake"? That means it's surprisingly easy to accomplish (eating a light cake, not baking it.) Maybe just "Hooray!" – Yosef Baskin Jul 16 '17 at 22:54
  • "Hooray" sounds like what I am looking for. - As for "piece of cake": my (non-native speaker) feeling is that this is rather something you could use to communicate your oppinion that a certain task will be (future!) easy for you. Whereas schwuppdiwupp expresses the joyful surprise that something was easier than you initially thought (past!). – Christian Geiselmann Jul 16 '17 at 23:00
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    Okay, thanks. I memorize, accordingly: "We started loading the timber onto the lorry, and - piece of cake - the task was done." – Christian Geiselmann Jul 16 '17 at 23:07
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    In your sentence, you could insert "what do you know?" ... which is often used for a degree of surprise that something simple worked. "They told me that the starter was bad, because the battery was fine and connected tightly. I decided to take off and replace the contacts to the battery even though they looked fine, and what do you know, the car started right up." – Tom22 Jul 17 '17 at 2:13
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    I really like the German word. It's unexpected that Dutch uses something completely unrelated, Dutch and German tend to stay close to eachother. The Dutch version is "Klaar is Kees" ("Done is Kees". Kees is a common name, similar to Bob in the English version) – Flater Jul 17 '17 at 12:26
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bada bing (also bada boom bada bing)
EXCLAMATION
North American
informal

Used to emphasize that something will happen effortlessly and predictably.
‘follow the appropriate twelve-step program and—bada bing—you're rolling in it’
...
‘You say a couple things in class (they don't even have to make sense), the prof smiles at you and bada boom bada bing, you're passing the course.’

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  • This, of course, seems to be a twin sibling of German schwuppdiwupp (or the other way round). Quite what I was looking for. Thanks. – Christian Geiselmann Jul 18 '17 at 11:27
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mirabile dictu, from Merriam-Webster

wonderful to relate

Example (made up):

I just finished assembling the "easy to assemble" swing set, and, mirabile dictu, it was easy to assemble!

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  • That's a nice one, although I wonder if it isn't a little bit posh or so, as it is pure Latin? - By the way, the statement of "first known use 1804" puzzles me as - this being Latin - I would eat my cat if it wasn't in use at least 1000 years earlier, too. – Christian Geiselmann Jul 16 '17 at 23:04
  • You are right. I'm going to edit that out. As for posh, maybe, but I think Catholics will have heard of it, and people who know a little Italian. I'll try translating it into Spanish. – ab2 Jul 16 '17 at 23:07
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    I like Latin (and by the way, formally I am a Catholic). My problem is rather imagining construction workers using this when moving heavy materials. Schwuppdiwupp could be heard in this environment, mirabile dictu would be quite mirabile. – Christian Geiselmann Jul 16 '17 at 23:11
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I disagree that "It was a piece of cake" is a suitable answer to this question. That expression simply implies that the task/process was easy to complete, but does not convey or imply that it was expected to be harder.

From experience in common everyday language usage, the adverbial phrase:

easier than expected

as in

The report was easier than expected

...is generally sufficient. I cannot think of any adjective that implies something was "better than expected" that is casual or at best, not exceedingly posh.

Attached: Google nGram viewer analysis

enter image description here

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