As Well As | Synonym, Meaning & Examples
As well as is an expression that means “in addition to.” It’s used as a conjunction or preposition to connect two parts of a sentence, usually placing emphasis on the one that comes before it. Synonyms of “as well as” include “along with,” “besides,” and “plus.”
As well as vs. and
The most common mistake that people make when using as well as is to treat it as interchangeable with the conjunction and. There are some important contexts in which and can never be replaced with as well as.
First, a list of three or more items always includes and before the final item, not as well as. If you do really want to place less emphasis on the final item, use and before the previous item and as well as after it:
- Dogs, cats, birds, as well as hamsters are common household pets.
- Dogs, cats, birds, and hamsters are common household pets.
- Dogs, cats, and birds, as well as hamsters, are common household pets.
Second, in the expression “both … and …” you can’t replace the and with as well as. Stick to the usual phrasing:
- Both dogs as well as cats are beloved household pets.
- Both dogs and cats are beloved household pets.
In other contexts, both are valid options, but the choice can alter the meaning and emphasis of your sentence:
- And simply connects two things without placing special emphasis on either of them.
- As well as de-emphasizes whatever comes after it, suggesting that it’s less important than the other part of the sentence.
Subject-verb agreement with “as well as”
The use of as well as can sometimes result in confusion regarding subject-verb agreement.
When a compound subject such as “Boyan and Puja” is used, the verb that follows it is plural, as in the sentence “Boyan and Puja are coming to the party.” When as well as is used instead, the second noun or pronoun must be separated from the rest of the sentence with commas (or em dashes or parentheses).
Because of this, the phrase beginning with as well as is no longer considered part of the subject. The subject therefore requires a singular verb form instead:
- Boyan as well as Puja are coming to the party.
- Boyan, as well as Puja, are coming to the party.
- Boyan, as well as Puja, is coming to the party.
Using “as well as” to connect verbs
When as well as is used to connect two verbs, people are often confused about how to conjugate the second verb and whether it needs a new subject.
When as well as is preceded by a comma (i.e., it introduces a subordinate clause), the correct approach is normally to use the present participle (“-ing” form) of the second verb, without repeating the subject.
- Maya cycles daily, as well as she swims at the weekend.
- Maya cycles daily, as well as swims at the weekend.
- Maya cycles daily, as well as swimming at the weekend.
When as well as is not preceded by a comma (i.e., it doesn’t introduce a new clause), the same conjugation is commonly used for both verbs, just as it would be if joining the verbs with and. In such cases, we recommend just using and instead, as it always reads more smoothly.
- We sell houses as well as rent them out.
- We sell houses and rent them out.
However, when the first verb is a “to” infinitive, the second verb should also be an infinitive (typically without repeating “to”).
- I want to swim as well as sunbathe at the beach.
When “as well as” means something else
The meaning of as well as discussed in all the previous sections is by far the most common meaning in current usage, but it is idiomatic (it represents a special usage of the words involved that is not exactly literal).
The words as well as can also be used in a more literal way to introduce a comparison. Consider the difference in meaning between the idiomatic and literal examples of the phrase below.
Worksheet: As well as vs. and
You can test your understanding of the difference between “as well as” and “and” with the worksheet below. Fill in either “as well as” or “and” in each sentence.
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.
Frequently asked questions about "as well as"
- What is a synonym of “as well as”?
- What does “mine as well” mean?
“Mine as well” is a common misspelling of the expression might as well.
This expression is used alone or as part of a sentence to indicate something that makes little difference either way or that there’s no reason not to do (e.g., “We might as well ask her”). You should write might as well, not “mine as well,” to express this meaning.
On some occasions, mine as well can be the right choice. “Mine” is the first-person possessive pronoun, indicating something belonging to the speaker. So you might use this phrase in an exchange like the following:
- Person A: My legs are aching.
- Person B: Mine as well. It was a long walk!
- What does “you as well” mean?
You as well is a short phrase used in conversation to reflect whatever sentiment someone has just expressed to you back at them. It’s commonly used to respond to well wishes:
- Person A: Have a great weekend!
- Person B: You as well!
The phrase is made up of the second-person pronoun you and the phrase as well, which means “also” or “too.”
This phrase is synonymous with another phrase, you too. Both are only used conversationally, not in formal writing, because they’re not complete sentences and don’t make sense outside of a conversational context.
- What does “as well” mean?
As well is a phrase used to mean “also” or “too.” It’s used to indicate something additional (e.g., “I’m going to the bank as well”).
It’s also used in different senses in various common phrases, such as “as well as,” “might as well,” “you as well,” and “just as well.”
- Is it “aswell” or “as well”?
The correct spelling of the phrase meaning “also” or “too” is as well, with a space. “Aswell,” combining the two words into one, is considered a mistake by all major dictionaries.
In other phrases involving these words, too, they are always written as separate words: “as well as,” “might as well,” “just as well,” etc.
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