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While reading a book, I read a new sentence, 'we parted the best of friends.'

I guess the meaning of this sentence is that we were best friends when we parted (were separated from one another). Am I correct?

Also I'm curious if that sentence is grammatically correct, and how its syntax works.

  • The meaning is correct. "We parted the best of friends" is a common enough phrase that it is automatically grammatically correct, regardless of whether it fits into any of the existing rules. If I had to guess, I'd say "the best of friends" is an adjectival phrase applying to "we": it's just that we've missed out a comma from "We parted, the best of friends", of the same form as "I shouted, enraged". – Patrick Stevens Sep 28 '15 at 15:31
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It does not exactly mean "we were best friends when we parted", since "best friends" usually implies a long-term friendship. "We parted the best of friends" means that "we were on excellent terms when we parted". "Best of friends" is used as a slight exaggeration, since the phrase is usually applied to situations where the speaker might have wound up in a less friendly relationship. For instance, if two people are rivals and they meet to work out their differences, the situation could turn ugly if they don't find a compromise that works. If they do reach an amicable agreement they might describe their final relationship as "parting the best of friends". It's not that they are really close, it's rather a way to contrast the alternative parting - as enemies.

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