I have been missing for a while here — traveling and traveling with a short stop at the hospital in Indy. Very sore leg turned into “I cannot walk!” Turns out it was trochanteric bursitis. I am much better and can actually walk!
So here we are! “As well as”
First, there are times when this is NOT a unit but is three separate words.
…I performed as well as I had expected.
In this instance, the basic sentence is “I performed well,” where “well” is an adverb that modifies the verb. The first “as” is an adverb that modifies well. The second “as” is a subordinate conjunction that begins the dependent clause “as I had expected,” which modifies the first “as.”
Second, the words “as well as” can be a preposition, called a “phrasal preposition” because it has more than one word. When it is a preposition, it means “in addition to” or “besides.”
…I was with John as well as my brother.
This sentence does not need a comma because “as well as my brother” is a prepositional phrase at the end of the sentence, which does not call for a comma.
…Roberts, as well as his assistant, made the decision to go.
When the “…as well as…” phrase is between the subject and verb, it is called an “intervening element” and always takes commas around it.
Third, the words “as well as” can be a conjunction, when it means “in addition” or “and,” though it is not punctuated the same way as “and” because it is not a coordinate conjunction.
…He is coward as well as a liar.
When it is used in this way, it still does not take a comma because the clause it begins is at the end of the unit.
There is a time when a comma may make a difference in the meaning.
…I like Carol as well as Jane. (…as well as I like Jane.)
…I like Carol, as well as Jane. (…and also Jane.)
Maybe a comma would help clarify the double meaning of this sentence. I am simply not sure the comma translates into the difference.