Comma Before As Well As | Rules & Examples
As well as is an expression meaning “in addition to.” In most contexts, you don’t need a comma before “as well as.”
You can optionally add a comma before “as well as” if you want to place less emphasis on the phrase that comes after it.
But you need a comma before and after the “as well as” phrase when it comes straight after the subject of the sentence.
- His mother as well as his father encouraged him to believe in himself.
- His mother, as well as his father, encouraged him to believe in himself.
No comma before “as well as” in most contexts
In most contexts, you can use and punctuate “as well as” in the same way as you would use the conjunction “and”—without any commas. “As well as” can be used without commas in the following parts of a sentence:
- The direct object
- The indirect object
- The complement
- Connecting two verbs
In all these contexts, you may optionally add a comma before “as well as.” If the phrase following “as well as” is not the end of the sentence, you should also add a comma after it.
By default, a phrase that comes after “as well as” has less emphasis on it than the phrase that comes before. Adding the comma(s) has the effect of de-emphasizing it even more, making the “as well as” phrase into a parenthetical and making it seem nonessential to the sentence’s meaning.
When you need a comma before “as well as”
While the comma can be optionally added in the contexts discussed above, there’s one context where you must add a comma. This is when you use “as well as” straight after the subject of the sentence
The subject is the noun, pronoun, or phrase representing the person or thing that carries out the action of the verb. You can create a compound subject with a coordinating conjunction like “and” or “or.” But it’s not correct to do the same with “as well as”:
- Patryk and Karl are coming to the party.
- Patryk as well as Karl are coming to the party.
“As well as” should not be used to create a compound subject. You can fix this error by simply changing “as well as” to “and,” as above.
If you want to retain the “as well as” phrase, you need to add commas around it, making it parenthetical. And you need to make sure you still have subject-verb agreement, since the “as well as” phrase no longer counts as part of the subject. The singular noun “Patryk” needs the singular verb form “is”:
- Patryk, as well as Karl, are coming to the party.
- Patryk, as well as Karl, is coming to the party.
Remember that, as in other cases, this places less emphasis on what comes after “as well as.” Here, the statement is mainly about Patryk; Karl is just mentioned in passing. If that’s not what you intend, use “and” instead.
No comma before “as well as” when making a comparison
There’s another, more literal use of the phrase “as well as”: using it to make a comparison such as “I ski as well as my sister.” When you’re using “as well as” to make a comparison like this, you should never add commas:
- I ski, as well as my sister.
- I ski as well as my sister. [We ski equally well.]
- I, as well as my sister, ski. [We both ski. No comparison is being made.]
Is there ever a comma after “as well as”?
No, you shouldn’t insert a comma directly after “as well as” in normal usage. “As well as” is supposed to connect directly to the phrase that comes after it, so it shouldn’t be separated from it by a comma.
- He spoke to me as well as, to you.
In some rare cases, a comma may appear directly after “as well as,” such as when it appears parenthetically as an alternative to some other conjunction or when it is immediately followed by an interrupter. But these cases are quite unusual.
If you introduce a mid-sentence phrase with “as well as” preceded by a comma, though, you do always need another comma at the end of the phrase:
- My mother, as well as a friend of mine suffers from the condition.
- My mother, as well as a friend of mine, suffers from the condition.
Comma before “as well”
Sometimes, “as well” (without the second “as”) is tagged on at the end of a sentence to mean “too.” Adding or omitting the comma in this context is just a matter of personal choice. Adding the comma creates more of a pause before “as well,” which may or may not be what you want.
If you use “as well” in this way, follow your own instincts about whether to add a comma:
- There are snacks and drinks available as well.
- There are snacks and drinks available, as well.
If you insert “as well” in the middle of a sentence as an interrupter (a phrase that interrupts the flow of the sentence to qualify or emphasize something), then you should add commas both before and after it (not just one comma). Note that it tends to read more smoothly to use “too” in these contexts, though.
- It wasn’t only my thinking that changed. My habits as well were transformed.
- It wasn’t only my thinking that changed. My habits, as well were transformed.
- It wasn’t only my thinking that changed. My habits as well, were transformed.
- It wasn’t only my thinking that changed. My habits, as well, were transformed.
Worksheet: Comma before “as well as”
If you want to test your understanding of how to use commas with “as well as,” try completing the worksheet below. Just add commas to the sentences wherever you think they’re needed (or don’t add any if they aren’t needed).
Other interesting language articles
If you want to know more about commonly confused words, definitions, common mistakes, and differences between US and UK spellings, make sure to check out some of our other language articles with explanations, examples, and quizzes.
Sources in this article
We strongly encourage students to use sources in their work. You can cite our article (APA Style) or take a deep dive into the articles below.This Scribbr article Sources