As Well As – Grammar Rules 101

Knowing when & when not to use commas is one of the hardest parts of grammar. Using a comma incorrectly can completely change the meaning & flow of a sentence. This is especially true when it comes to using the phrase “as well as”. In this article, we’ll teach you how to use commas correctly with the phrase “as well as” & show some examples.

When To Put A Comma Infront of “As Well As”

Whiteboard explaining as well as comma

If the expressions connected by the phrase “as well as” are of unequal emphasis than a comma is needed. More specifically, if the first phrase is more important than the second phrase, a comma should be placed before “as well as

Example: Mark was known for stealing paintings, as well as making some charitable donations.

In this sentence, everything after the comma can be deleted and the sentence can stand alone. Removing “as well as making some charitable donations” does not change the sentence.

If you chose to start a sentence with as well as, you should place one comma after the introductory phrase. For example, “As well as learning to write, I would also like to learn how to read.”

Tip: If both expressions in the sentence are of equal importance no comma is needed.

The Meaning Of “As Well As”

The phrase “as well as” is used for two main reasons:

  1. To mean “in addition to”.
  2. To make a comparison.

As well as” can be used to mean “in addition to” or “and also“. For example, if you wanted to say that more than one person made the baseball team you might say “Tom as well as Mark made the varsity baseball team.”

As well as” can also be used to make a comparison between two things. For example, if you wanted to compare Mark & Tom’s baseball skills, you might say “Mark does not play baseball as well as Tom.

Understand Verb Agreement

verbs typically agree with the subject in number – that is, a singular subject takes a singular verb, while a plural subject takes a plural verb. This rule also applies to using the phrase “as well as”.

  • I can also sing as well as dance.
  • As well as being easy on the eyes, I’m also a marine research biologist.
  • The basketball I lost, as well as the football, was found in the backyard.

Takeaway: Adding “as well as” does not change the number of subjects.

Use It In A Sentence (Examples)

If these grammar rules are not making sense, review these samples to get clarity.

  1. I’m looking for a new job, as well as a new place to live.
  2. As well as coming in last place, Mark also sprained his ankle in the race.
  3. Mark is studying for his finals, as well as working two jobs.
  4. Toyotas are the most comfortable cars as well as have the best gas mileage.
  5. We need milk, bread, and eggs, as well as some fruit and vegetables.
  6. I’d like to go to the beach, as well as the mountains this year.
  7. Lifting weights improves mental as well as physical health.
  8. I’m looking for a partner who is good-looking as well as funny.
  9. I chose the answer “A” on the test because it is the correct answer, as well as my favorite letter in the alphabet.

The Difference Between “As Well As” & “And”

The word “and” is the most commonly used synonym for the phrase “as well as.” “And” is a coordinating conjunction that is typically used to join two words, phrases, or clauses together.

For example, you might say “I am going to the store, and I will pick up some milk.” In this sentence, “and” is joining two independent clauses.

It can be difficult to understand the difference when comparing “as well as” vs “and“. The main difference is that “and” can be used to make a compound subject.

Review the following sentences for some examples:

  1. Mark and Tom are responsible for stealing the bike.
  2. Mark, as well as Tommy, is a very talented football player.
  3. If you want to come over for the football game, make you bring Mike and Steve.
  4. Tom does not play basketball as well as Mark.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How do you use as well as in a sentence?

“As well as” connects two groups of words in a single sentence. If both groups of words are equally important then no comma is needed. If the first part of the sentence is more important, then place a comma before “as well as.” For example, “I always proofread my writing for spelling mistakes as well as punctuation errors.”

Q: Do I put a comma before as well as?

Place a comma before “as well as” when the words after are not a critical part of the sentence. For example, “My favorite food is steak, as well as pizza.” You can only have one “favorite” food so pizza is not a critical part of the sentence.

Q: Do you put a comma after as well as?

The general rule is that if the words after the phrase “as well as” is NOT necessary, then place a comma before. For example, if you were asked “what is the main language you speak?”…you might respond “I speak Spanish, as well as Portuguese.” In this case, the comma goes before “as well as” because Portuguese is not essential to the sentence.

Q: Is as well as singular or plural?

It depends on the sentence. The phrase as well as is NOT linked to the verb. If the subject of a sentence is singular, then a singular verb should be used.

The Bottom Line

“As well as” is one of the most commonly misused phrases in the English language. However, by following these simple grammar rules, you can avoid making common mistakes and improve your writing skills. Have you tried using “as well as” in your own writing? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!