We are trying to figure out the parts of speech in the following sentence and have been stumped by the first phrase:

Just between you and me, those boots aren't cool this year.

I say interjection, but we think maybe it is some type of adverbial phrase. What do you think?

  • To "figure out the parts of speech" you first have to figure out the parts of the sentence, i.e, the constituents (phrases, clauses, subjects, predicates, etc). Then the part of speech should be obvious, constituent by constituent; but doing it word-by-word in a sentence like this is a recipe for misunderstanding. Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 17:21
  • @JohnLawler I’ve been fighting that battle in the NLP&CompLing communities. They keep wanting to use simplistic chunkers that have at best ngram awareness, not a real parse, and so they get a great deal wrong. Even the very best of these at per-token assignments still only get 50–60% of the sentences completely correct. Drives me nuts. I blame the Penn Treebank tagset. Well, no not really, but it’s rather subclever.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 22:36
  • 1
    CL/NLP does very well in harvesting the low-hanging fruit. It remains to be seen whether parsing is a good CL strategy in the long run. However, there's no doubt whatever that it's the best strategy for a human language analyst. You might find the last couple chapters of this book interesting; they address just that distinction. Commented Jan 18, 2012 at 23:02

2 Answers 2


Just between you and me acts as a disjunct, that is, it affects the interpretation of the whole sentence. That may be easier to see if you replace it with an adverb like confidentially.


"Just between you and me" may be named speech-act related adverb or adverbial. Speech-act adverbial express the conditions under which something is being said. It is "situational adjunct".

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