You’re Probably Using ‘As Well As’ Incorrectly

by | Nov 18, 2015 | Writing Tips | 0 comments

As one of the most frequently used conjunctions, “as well as” is also one of the most abused. Yes, you read that right. You probably think you have been correctly dressing up your writing with it. I did, too. Then I learned about the three ways that many content writers mistakenly use it. Now, I know better.

It’s Not a Synonym for “And”

Do not make the grave error of using “as well as” when you should just use “and,” because “as well as” will place special emphasis on one of your subjects. Basically, “X as well as Y” means “not only Y, but also X.”

Wrong: Spanish is spoken in Spain as well as in parts of South America.

Right: Spanish is spoken in Spain and South America.

Because “as well as” puts a special emphasis on the expression that precedes it, the first sentence above actually means: Spanish is spoken not only in parts of South America, but also in Spain (um, duh).

When in doubt, keep it simple and just use “and” when all subjects should have equal emphasis.

It Does Not Make Subjects Plural

Beware the subject-verb agreement when you use “as well as.”

Wrong: Kate, as well as Amber, enjoy writing about grammar.

Right: Kate, as well as Amber, enjoys writing about grammar.

This is another example where you could simplify your writing and just use “and” unless you really want to emphasize your first subject.

It Takes an “-ing” Verb

This one sounds and looks weird, but it’s correct. For example, here’s how to convey two hobbies someone has:

Wrong: She writes as well as sings.

Right: She writes as well as singing.

Super weird, right? But it’s correct. (If you don’t believe me, you can check grammar books.) The first sentence implies that her singing is as good as her writing. The second indicates that she enjoys both activities.

Glad That’s Over?

Using correct grammar is tricky as well as essential. (Get it? Because using correct grammar is not only essential, but it’s also tricky.) You probably have questions about this one, so please leave them in the comments below!

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