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As Well As: Meaning, Comma Usage & Example Sentences

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  • 0:00 As Well As
  • 0:29 As Well As Vs. And
  • 1:28 Verb Agreement
  • 2:35 -Ing Form of a Verb
  • 3:09 Comma Use
  • 3:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor
Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Expert Contributor
Linsey Betts

Linsey is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in English Literature at Claremont Graduate University and has taught students of all ages in English and the humanities for 10 years.

In this lesson, we'll examine the use of the phrase '~'as well as'~' in sentences. We'll learn about some common mistakes that people make when using this phrase and how to correctly punctuate sentences using '~'as well as.'~'

As Well As

What if I told you that the phrase 'as well as' is almost always used incorrectly? As well as is a conjunction that means in addition. A conjunction is a part of speech that is used to connect words, phrases, and clauses to each other. Even in textbooks, mistakes are made when using this phrase. Let's examine the proper and improper use of 'as well as.'

'As Well As' vs. 'And'

The first big mistake people make when using 'as well as' is that they try to adjust its meaning. 'As well as' does NOT mean 'and.' Many people try to interchange them, but that is a mistake because the word 'and' suggests that all of the things on a list are equal. 'As well as' infers that one of the items deserves emphasis.

For example:

  • Zachary is in Video Game Club and Chess Club as well as on the Academic Team.

This sentence suggests that the Academic Team is more distinguished than the other two clubs. If that is not the case, the word 'and' should have been used:

  • Zachary is in Video Game Club and Chess Club, and on the Academic Team.

Try substituting 'not only/ or but also' in that sentence:

  • Zachary is not only in Video Game Club and Chess Club but also on the Academic Team.

Is this what you meant? If so, 'as well as' was used correctly.

Verb Agreement

As stated earlier, 'as well as' is a conjunction, or part of speech, that means in addition. Determining which form of the verb to use after 'as well as' often leads to a common error, such as showing the subject in its plural form.

For example, which of the following sentences is correct?

  • The gorilla as well as the orangutan is a primate.
  • The gorilla as well as the orangutan are primates.

If you picked the first sentence, you're right! Adding the phrase 'as well as' before the orangutan does not change the number of subjects (gorilla).

Here are a couple of other examples of correct verb agreement when using the phrase 'as well as.'

  • The purple shirt as well as the white shorts is packed in the suitcase.
  • The punch as well as the cookies is prepared for the party.

To double-check your work, simply cross out the phrase to see if you have subject-verb agreement.

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Additional Activities

As Well As: Review and Practice

In this lesson, we learned about the phrase 'as well as.' 'As well as' is a conjunction (a connecting word or phrase) that means 'in addition to.' It does not mean the same thing as 'and,' but implies that one of the items in a list deserves emphasis. Practice what you have learned using the exercises below.

Emphasis

If you can replace 'as well as' in a sentence with 'not only...but also' and the meaning remains the same, then the phrase is being used correctly. Try doing this for the examples below.

1. Jeremy enjoys dancing and performing, as well as singing.

2. Britney ate sushi and sashimi, as well as octopus soup.

Verb agreement

Make sure the verb agrees with the subject in the examples below: remember, adding 'as well as' does not change the number of subjects.

3. Tomatoes, as well as potatoes, grow in the garden.

4. The air conditioning, as well as the heating, is broken.

The verb form '-ing'

When a verb follows right after the phrase 'as well as,' the '-ing' form of the verb is used. Examine the examples below to see if they are correct.

5. In Hawaii, we hiked as well as eating delicious food.

6. Gerald fell as well as rolled down the stairs.

Commas

Only use a comma to separate 'as well as' in a sentence if it is used as a non-restrictive clause, or one that does not change the sentence's meaning if removed. See the examples below.

7. I like Sarah, as well as Jamie.

8. I don't like pineapple as well as sardines on my pizza.

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