Grammatically Correct Use of “As Well As”

As well as is one of the most frequently, but still most misused, conjunctions in academic and administrative texts. It is one of those phrases that confuse even native speakers.

What Does “As Well As” Mean?

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Correctly using the phrase”as well as” can be beneficial in language. It is helpful to spice up your writing, instead of using the same conjunctions over and over.

Did you know that the phrase ‘as well as’ is almost always used incorrectly? “As well as” is a conjunction that means in addition. As a rule, a conjunction is a part of a speech that connects words, phrases, and clauses.

The phrase can confuse those who are learning English as a second language, because it has two meanings.

The first and the more commonly way of using as well as, is using it just like “in addition to”, or “besides”.

However, it can also have a comparative meaning, as in you are using the phrase to compare two separate things.

Correct Way of Using As Well As

As Well As ≠ And

When using ‘as well as’, people make a lot of mistakes as they try to adjust its meaning. ‘As well as’ doesn’t have the same meaning as ‘and’.

Many folks try to interchange them, but the word ‘and’ suggests that all of the items on a list are equal. By ‘as well as’ we indicate that one item deserves emphasis.

Let’s take a look at an example to show what we mean:

  • I am good at tennis as well as basketball.
  • I am good at tennis and basketball.

While these sentences look like they are the same, they aren’t. The first sentence actually means:

  • Not only I am good at tennis, but also at basketball.

But it does not mean both sports get the same significance within the sentence.

As Well As Does Not Affect Subjects

Another common mistake when using as well as comes from the subject-verb agreement.

After using as well as, speakers tend to change singular subject to a plural one. Let’s take a look at an example to see it clearly:

  • I as well as David was asked to the principal’s office.
  • I as well as David were asked to the principal’s office.

Can you tell which one is grammatically correct? If you picked the first one, you were right!

Using Verbs After As Well As

Finally, the third most common grammar mistake is with verbs that come after as well as.

So, after as well as, you have to pick the gerund form of the verb. As always, an example:

  • He broke the windows of the car as well as slashing the tires.
  • Sally is good at cooking as well as babysitting.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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