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and, as well as

As well as can be used as a conjunction to join items in a series—but it’s not simply a synonym for and. The conjunction as well as differs from and in two important ways.

First, it acts like the correlative conjunction not only…but also, putting an unequal emphasis on the items it joins. The item following as well as has less emphasis than the item before it:

  • The service was prompt as well as efficient. [The emphasis is on prompt.]

The conjunction and, in contrast, joins items of equal value and emphasis:

  • The service was prompt and efficient. [There is equal emphasis on prompt and efficient.]

Second, while and can join several items, the conjunction as well as by itself cannot connect more than two. If we add a third item to the series, we have to use the conjunction and to join at least two of the items. We can do this in either of the ways shown below.

  1. The easiest method is simply to use and by itself to join the whole series, putting an equal emphasis on all three items:
    • The service was prompt, courteous and efficient.
  2. Another method is to use and in combination with as well as, putting less emphasis on the item(s) that appear after as well as:
    • The service was prompt and courteous, as well as efficient. [The emphasis is on prompt and courteous.]
    • The service was prompt, as well as courteous and efficient. [The emphasis is on prompt.]

Do not use as well as in place of the conjunction and in a series of three or more items:

  • The service was prompt, courteous and efficient. [not prompt, courteous as well as efficient]