In phrases such as "X is better than Y in my opinion" what is the grammatical function of the phrase "in my opinion"?

I know that prepositional phrases can function as adverbs or adjective depending on the context. I'm having difficulty understanding this usage in terms of either of those functions.

  • 1
    It is an adjunct, a structurally dispensable 'add on' that doesn't change the meaning of the sentence if it is removed. It is arguably a modal adjunct, meaning that it indicates the speakers degree of certainty about X being better than Y. – Roaring Fish Feb 6 '15 at 15:46
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    Yes – it's tacked on to the matrix sentence (this can be done in various possible positions – even, informally, as a second sentence fragment here) as a parenthetical. It gives meta-information (not directly about X and Y here, but in this case on the speaker's judgement of their reliability in making the claim). Another classification calls the structure a (modal here, as RF explains) pragmatic marker, stressing the sense of separating the syntax of the parenthetical from that of the matrix sentence. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 6 '15 at 17:44

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