The key difference between and and as well as is that and puts equal importance on all words, clauses, or phrases it combines, while as well as puts emphasis on the words that precede it.
Although many of us use and and as well as interchangeably, they are not synonyms. While both act as conjunctions, there is a considerable difference between them based on meaning and usage. As well as has a similar to meaning to ‘in addition to’, or ‘not only….but also’, while and simply acts as a conjunction.
What Does And Mean?
And is a coordinating conjunction. We can use this conjunction to connect words, clauses or sentences. The words we join using this conjunction usually belong to the same grammatical category. For example, bread and butter, walk and talk, singing and dancing, tall and handsome, etc.
When and is used in the subject of a sentence, the verb of that sentence becomes plural.
Mary wants ice-cream. + Jason wants ice-cream.→ Mary and Jason want ice-cream
Since and is a coordinating conjunction, it joins two independent clauses, creating a compound sentence. For example,
I turned around. I walked out. → I turned around and walked out.
What Does As Well As Mean?
As well as is a phrase we use as a conjunction. You use this phrase when you want to mention another item connected with the subject you are discussing. This basically means ‘in addition to’. Although most of us use as well as a synonym for and, this usage is not exactly correct. For example, the phrase ‘Jane and John’ is not the same as ‘Jane as well as John’. Although and connects the two nouns, as well as puts more emphasis on the noun that precedes it. In this sense, as well as is similar to ‘not only….but also’.
The war caused hatred between two communities, as well as death and destruction.
In the above sentence, the use of as well as places emphasis on ‘hatred between two communities. This sentence basically means that the war caused not only death and destruction but also hatred between two communities. If you don’t want to create emphasis in the sentence, then and is a better choice as a conjunction.
There is also a grammatical difference between and and as well as. And usually makes the verb of a sentence plural. However, as well as does not make a singular subject plural. When you use as well as in a sentence, the verb must agree with the noun preceding it. For example,
Jane, as well as John, wants to quit school.
Given below are some more examples using the conjunction as well as.
English is spoken in many other countries of the world as well as in England.
He reads books by Sidney Sheldon as well as books by Dickens and Hemingway.
The ski champion enjoyed cooking as well as winter sports.
What is the Difference Between And and As Well As?
And is a coordinating conjunction that connects words, clauses or sentences. As well as is a conjunction we use when we want to mention another item connected with the subject you are discussing. As well as usually places emphasis on one of the words it combines, while and gives equal importance to all the words it combines. This is the key difference between and and as well as. And thus, these two conjuctions are not always interchangeable. Furthermore, another important difference between and and as well as is that when we use both these conjunctions in the subject, and turns a singular verb into plural whereas as well as don’t.
Summary – And vs As Well As
Although most of us use these two conjunctions interchangeably, there is a difference between and as well as. As well as usually places emphasis on one of the words, it combines while and gives equal importance to all the words it combines.
1. Pantcheva, Marina. “Article of the Week: The Correct Use of As Well As.” English Language Help Desk. Available here
2. Maddox , Maeve. “‘As Well As’ Does Not Mean ‘And.’” Daily Writing Tips. Available here
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