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Here is the sentence in question

意外と早かったね。

The speaker is saying this in what I would take as a form of astonishment at how fast the students moved the wooden logs out of the warehouse.

In the sentence is a noun, 意外, meaning "unexpectedly" or "surprising", and an adjective 早かった "was fast". And a sentence ending particle. Lastly, the unsaid subject is the activity of moving the logs.

I'm unsure of what the と particle is doing here though. This isn't a conditional and I know that と is used for quoting things. I also know that those things don't necessarily have to be said either. They can be thoughts, sounds made by actions or the manner in which something is done. Would this be a case in which the と particle is "encapsulating" the manner in which something was done? If so, what purpose is と serving? It seems to be used in an adverbial sense. I don't believe this to be と's "and" or "with" usage for keeping a reciprocal relationship with the subject either.

Any answers would be appreciated. I have terribly hard time with と's quotation uses so if anyone has any good resources on the subject, please link them.

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「意外と」 works as an adverb here, and it's not 意外 + と. 「意外と」 has almost the same meaning as 「意外に」, so in this case, 「意外と早かったね」 means "it was faster than I expected."

For the slight difference between 「意外と」and 「意外に」, see this post (Is there any difference between 意外に and 意外と?).

In some cases, adverbs end with 「と」. For example, 「自然に」and 「自然と」has almost the same meaning.

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