Subject-verb agreement is a crucial component of grammatical correctness. When it comes to using “as well as” in a sentence, things can get a bit trickier. This phrase is often used to connect two subjects, and this can create confusion when it comes to maintaining subject-verb agreement. In this article, we will explore the correct usage of “as well as” and help you avoid common errors.
Firstly, it is important to understand what “as well as” means. This phrase is used to connect two things that are similar or related. It is similar to saying “in addition to” or “along with”. For example, “John, as well as his brother, is going to the party.” In this sentence, “John” is the main subject, and “his brother” is being added as an additional detail.
When using “as well as”, it is important to remember that the verb should agree with the main subject. In the sentence above, “John” is singular, so the verb “is” is used. If the sentence had been “John’s brother, as well as John, are going to the party”, the verb “are” would have been used, as “John’s brother” is now the main subject.
One common mistake people make when using “as well as” is to treat it as a conjunction, which it is not. A conjunction joins two clauses, while “as well as” adds information about another subject. This can create confusion when it comes to subject-verb agreement.
Another common mistake is to use the verb that agrees with the closest subject. For example, “The boss, as well as the employees, are working hard.” This sentence is incorrect as “boss” is the main subject, and should be matched with the singular verb “is”. The sentence should read, “The boss, as well as the employees, is working hard.”
Lastly, it is important to note that “as well as” is often used to add a nonessential element to a sentence. This means that if the clause containing “as well as” were removed, the sentence would still make sense and be grammatically correct. For example, “John, as well as his brother, is going to the party” could be rewritten as “John is going to the party”. The additional information about John’s brother is not necessary to the sentence structure.
In conclusion, subject-verb agreement can be tricky, especially when using phrases such as “as well as”. Remember that “as well as” is not a conjunction and should be used to add information about another subject. Always match the verb with the main subject, not the closest subject, and bear in mind that “as well as” is often used to add a nonessential element to a sentence. By following these guidelines, you can avoid common errors and ensure your writing is grammatically correct.