Is It Correct to Say “As Well As”?

Marcus Froland

As an English learner or a native speaker looking to improve your grammar, you might have encountered the phrase “as well as” and wondered about its proper use in sentences. Fret not, as we will guide you through the nuances of using “as well as” in English conjunctions, allowing you to achieve grammar correctness and make your speech and writing more coherent.

Unlike other familiar conjunctions like “and”, “as well as” serves a unique function in connecting words, clauses, and phrases to express a certain level of emphasis or comparison. Stick with us to grasp the fundamentals of using “as well as” correctly and enhance the impact of your writing and speech.

Understanding “As Well As” in English Grammar

The phrase “as well as” serves multiple grammatical functions and is essential to understand in order to write clear and precise sentences. In this section, we explore the various roles “as well as” plays in English grammar, such as functioning as a conjunction or a multi-word preposition, and its usage in comparisons.

“As well as” provides flexibility in sentence construction, but it also requires a keen understanding of English grammar rules to use appropriately.

First, “as well as” can function as a conjunction, connecting elements within a sentence with a focus on the first element for added emphasis. This helps draw attention to a particular part of the sentence, making it useful for accentuating specific ideas or points. For example:

  1. Apples, as well as oranges and bananas, are fruits.
  2. Jane, as well as Sarah and Tom, will be attending the conference.

In both examples, “as well as” connects multiple elements, but the emphasis lies on the initial element, apples and Jane, respectively.

Alternatively, “as well as” may act as a multi-word preposition, indicating an inclusive addition without a comparative sense. In this role, it serves a similar purpose as the prepositions “in addition to” or “together with”. For instance:

  • William studied psychology as well as sociology during his college years.
  • The hikers encountered bears as well as mountain lions on the trail.

Finally, when using “as well as” in comparisons, it suggests equal proficiency or level. This is particularly relevant when comparing skills or abilities. For example:

Emily plays the piano as well as Griffin does.

By understanding the distinctions between these uses of “as well as” in conjunction vs. preposition and its role in comparisons, you can apply this versatile phrase to create clarity and precision in your sentence construction.

The Differences Between “As Well As” and “And”

In English, understanding the distinctions between conjunctions such as “as well as” and “and” is crucial for providing clarity in your writing. While they may seem similar at first glance, they perform different functions within a sentence and influence how the elements they connect are emphasized. Let’s dive into the differences, comparing their functions, and exploring when to use each conjunction appropriately.

Comparing Functions in a Sentence

And functions as a conjunction connecting items of equal importance. It implies that both elements it links hold the same weight, without prioritizing one over the other. For instance:

“Karen visited the museum and the park.”

In this sentence, “and” is used to join the museum and the park, indicating that both activities are given equal emphasis.

On the other hand, as well as serves as a conjunction emphasizing one element over another. It connects the elements while placing more importance on the precedent element. Consider the following example:

“Karen visited the museum as well as the park.”

Here, using “as well as” links the activities but suggests that visiting the museum was of greater importance than the park.

When to Choose One Over the Other

When deciding which conjunction to use, consider your intended meaning and the desired emphasis within the sentence. If your aim is to connect elements with equal weight, opt for “and.” However, if you want to stress one element more than the other, “as well as” is the better choice.

  1. For combining items of equal importance: and
  2. For emphasizing one item over the other: as well as

In professional and academic writing, the choice between “as well as” and “and” significantly impacts the conveyed meaning and, consequently, the clarity of communication. For example:

  • Incorrect: “The study analyzed the effects of caffeine and sugar on alertness.”
  • Correct: “The study analyzed the effects of caffeine as well as sugar on alertness.”

In this case, using “as well as” instead of “and” makes it clear that the primary focus of the study is on caffeine, with sugar as an additional element, rather than giving them equal importance.

Emphasis and Meaning: Using “As Well As” Correctly

To use “as well as” correctly in your writing, it is crucial to recognize the emphasis it places on the preceding elements. By understanding that “as well as” functions to highlight specific elements rather than to uniformly combine them, writers can use this phrase to their advantage.

Highlighting Primary Elements in Your Writing

The strategic use of “as well as” can contribute to effective communication, particularly when you want to underscore primary points within sentences. For instance:

Tasha, a renowned cellist as well as a pianist, will be performing at the concert.

In this example, the sentence primarily highlights Tasha’s skills as a cellist. Her proficiency as a pianist is mentioned in addition, but the emphasis remains on her cellist abilities. By employing “as well as,” you can create a similar effect and enhance the overall impact of your writing.

Consider the following tips to utilize “as well as” effectively:

  1. Identify the primary element: Determine the key element you wish to emphasize in your sentence and place it before “as well as.”
  2. Use it sparingly: Relying too heavily on “as well as” could diminish the impact of your writing. Choose this phrase only when you want to deliberately emphasize specific elements.
  3. Maintain proper sentence structure: Ensure your sentence is grammatically correct and maintains the intended emphasis when using “as well as.”

By incorporating these best practices to emphasize content, you can improve the clarity and effectiveness of your writing, making your message more persuasive and engaging for your readers.

Maintaining Subject-Verb Agreement with “As Well As”

When using “as well as” in your writing, it’s crucial to pay close attention to subject-verb agreement for grammar accuracy. Unlike “and,” which typically requires the use of a plural verb, “as well as” doesn’t make the subject plural. Instead, the verb should correspond with the primary subject that precedes “as well as,” disregarding the addition of the subsequent phrase or clause. This often results in a singular verb conjugation, as demonstrated in this example:

“Jane, as well as Michael, wants to drop the course.”

In this sentence, “wants” agrees with the main subject “Jane,” while “as well as Michael” adds extra information without influencing the subject-verb agreement. Adhering to this rule allows you to maintain grammatical accuracy and ensure your intended meaning is clear to readers.

Here are some key points to remember about subject-verb agreement when using “as well as” in a sentence:

  1. The primary subject determines the verb conjugation, not the additional information after “as well as.”
  2. A singular verb is often required, as the subject remains singular even when accompanied by extra details.
  3. It’s essential to understand this distinction to avoid confusion and enhance the clarity of your writing.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to maintain proper subject-verb agreement in sentences that include “as well as.” This contributes to your overall grammar accuracy and aids in producing clear, effective, and precise communication.

“As Well As” in Academic and Professional Writing

In academic and professional writing, the correct use of language is crucial to convey your message effectively and avoid common writing errors. The phrase “as well as” is often misused, leading to clarity and grammatical issues. Understanding how to use it properly can greatly improve your written communication skills.

Common Missteps to Avoid

One of the primary missteps in academic and professional writing is treating “as well as” as a synonym for “and.” When used incorrectly, it alters the emphasis of the sentence unintentionally, potentially confusing your readers. Another common error is using the wrong verb forms, which can disrupt the subject-verb agreement and lead to further grammatical issues.

“The meeting was attended by the CEO, the department heads, as well as the interns.”

In the example above, the author has treated “as well as” as a synonym for “and,” equating the importance of the CEO and department heads with the interns. This usage can lead to ambiguity and potentially weaken the intended message.

Best Practices for Clear Communication

To use “as well as” effectively in your writing, follow these academic writing tips:

  1. Understand its emphasis: Recognize that “as well as” is used to prioritize elements within a sentence, placing more importance on the element that comes before it. Make sure you use it only when you want to create a distinction between the items you’re listing.
  2. Ensure subject-verb agreement: Don’t forget that “as well as” doesn’t make the subject plural. The verb should agree with the main subject that precedes “as well as.”
  3. Avoid overuse: Repeated use of “as well as” may make your writing appear cluttered and unnecessarily complex. Use it sparingly and purposefully, and opt for “and” when combining elements of equal importance.

By following these best practices, you’ll be on your way to crafting precise and impactful sentences in your academic and professional writing. Take the time to analyze your writing and determine if you’re effectively using “as well as” for clear communication.

Verb Forms Following “As Well As”

When constructing sentences using “as well as,” the verb forms that follow this phrase are vital to maintain grammatical accuracy. Consistent with standard grammar rules, verbs typically appear in the continuous tense, employing the “-ing” form after “as well as.”

Running is healthy as well as making you feel good.

In this sentence, “making” follows “as well as” and effectively connects both actions. The continuous tense usage adds clarity and coherence to the overall sentence structure. However, it is crucial to note that “as well as”label may sometimes introduce a comparison, altering the literal meaning of the sentence. In such cases, careful consideration is necessary to ensure the correct verb forms and maintain the intended meaning.

For instance:

Olivia speaks Spanish as well as her sister does.

  1. Wrong: Olivia speaks Spanish as well as speaking her sister does.
  2. Right: Olivia speaks Spanish as well as her sister does.

In this sentence, “as well as” introduces a comparison between Olivia and her sister’s Spanish-speaking abilities. Therefore, the appropriate verb form to use in this context is “does.”

Regional Variations and Preferences in Usage

While using “as well as” in both British and American English adheres to the same grammatical rules, minor differences in preferences and nuances can be observed. By understanding these regional variations, you can ensure that your writing appeals to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic and effectively communicates your intended message.

In general, British English tends to favor a more formal tone and may utilize “as well as” more frequently in comparisons or when expressing proficiency or a level. On the other hand, American English often adopts a more casual approach and might opt for “and” more often, even when “as well as” would be a better choice for denoting unequal emphasis. It is essential to be aware of these variations and adjust your writing accordingly, factoring in your target audience’s preferences.

So, when writing for a British or American audience, pay close attention to the nuances between English language variations and adjust the frequency and application of “as well as” to suit your reader’s sensibilities. This will help ensure that your writing maintains a strong connection with your audience and effectively conveys your intended message, regardless of which side of the pond you find yourself on.