As I was riding the train with a Japanese colleague, she took notice of this English question posted on one of the ads (about a medicine for stomachaches. Yes, I'm confused as well):

She, as well as I (?) tired of the work.

I believe the selections for the answer are the following:

is, are, am, have

I thought the answer is am or is, but I'm not sure because I haven't seen this sentence structure used before. I know that the subject-verb agreement when using the word and will compound the subjects, but I'm not so sure with as well as.

I hope someone can explain this thoroughly, as well as point me to the correct answer.

EDIT: I haven't seen the question on the trains again, but I've looked into it thinking the question was part of TOEIC. I've seen this link (it's in Japanese, and I'm not yet capable of reading it), so please check it out. The formatting there is a lot more weird (no commas?), but I saw the fourth item there.

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    For grammar info, there's this answer post: What is the correct verb that follows "as well as?".
    – F.E.
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 9:46
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    @F.E. - Thank you. You are a great resource. Now if only I could convince you to write answers! :D Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 11:06
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    Also, notice that "I is" doesn't sound too good to one's ear, not as standard English. Even with commas, like in "She, as well as I, is tired of the work", it will need a real long pause between "I" and "is", and even then, it still sounds awkward.
    – F.E.
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 20:48
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    Speakers of languages without subject-verb agreement tend to overestimate the number of awkward sentences English speakers emit. Native speakers learn to avoid those constructions very young, precisely because they do feel awkward, either way. So Asian students get drilled (using the wrong rules, often enough) on the problems with our number agreement system, while we native speakers do our best to make number agreement irrelevant, unnecessary, and inaudible. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 16:18
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    Just to echo (I think) John Lawler's view, I would never give "She, as well as I [am/is/are] tired of the work" a pass into a publication I was working on. No matter which option you choose, the awkwardness and unnaturalness of the construction will bring the flow of the narrative to a lurching halt while the reader tries to figure out (1) whether the choice is justifiable on technical grounds, and (2) why the author chose to express the idea in such needlessly cement-headed prose. The point of writing isn't to be ostentatiously (or merely arguably) correct; it's to convey ideas well. /sermon
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 1:03

6 Answers 6


A little knowledge, so they say, is a dangerous thing. It is commonly noted that the phrase "as well as" + [noun] is 'parenthetical'. And, indeed, this is sometimes true. It is this fact, aided and abetted by dreary prescriptive usage guides that motivates the guidance, frequently seen, that the noun after as well as should have no bearing on the agreement of the following verb in examples like the OP's. However, a visit to a modern, reputable and vetted grammar source, such as the world famous and awe-inspiring, Cambridge Grammar of the English Language by Huddleston & Pullum (et al), 2002, will reveal a more complex and interesting story.

They, as well as usage guides such as the Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage, point out that as well as is sometimes a co-ordinator. To make this clearer, we should say that there is an altogether different lexeme as well as, which is homophonous with the parenthetical phrase as well as. The so-called parenthetical one, is actually a two-word adverb followed by the preposition as and whatever complement this preposition takes. The co-ordinator is a three word co-ordinator.

Now the co-ordinator as well as functions similarly to the co-ordinator and. There are all sorts of syntactic tests we can do and observations we can make to show that this item is a co-ordinator. One important aspect of co-ordinated subjects is that the co-ordination counts as plural in terms of its contribution to the number agreement of the verb. So we see for example:

  • Bob and I are very happy.

We don't however see:

  • *Bob and I is very happy.

Neither do we usually observe:

  • *Bob and I am happy.

CaGEL (2002, p. 1316) give the following real examples showing as well as used as a co-ordinator. Notice that the noun phrase co-ordinations cause plural verb form agreement:

  • 70 i. b. _[Abstraction] [as well as impressionism] were Russian inventions.

  • 70 i. c. _[Both increasing ewe liveweight,] [as well as liveweight at mating,] influence ovulation rate and lambing performance.

In the examples above we see the plural verb forms were and influence, not was and influences - just like we would see with the co-ordinator and:

  • [Abstraction] [and impressionism] were Russian inventions.

  • [Both increasing ewe liveweight,] [and liveweight at mating,] influence ovulation rate and lambing performance.

They, however, also give sentences where a homophonous as well as phrase (which includes the following NP) functions as adjunct:

  • 70.ii.a Beauty, as well as love, is redemptive.

Note that it doesn't seem to make any difference when the as well as section is marked of by commas. Merriam-Webster (p. 102) give the following example from the New York Times, where the phrase is delimited by commas:

  • He, as well as the producer, Jack H. Silverman, are Broadway newcomers.

So, in short, it would seem that either:

  • She as well as I is tired of the work


  • She as well as I are tired of the work

... should be ok. Bear in mind, however, that their structures would actually be very different. Having said this, the fact that the two subjects are pronouns makes the second version considerably preferable to the first. The combination I is is particularly nasty, and jarring to ones natural ear. Only dimwitted, slavish adherence to prescriptive usage guides could make one prefer the former.

Now, having said that, let us also bear in mind that given that the structures are only superficially similar - even if similar in meaning and similar in the audible or visual sequence of words - one might be better off choosing an altogether different wording for this sentence. Let's face it, neither is particularly elegant. The highfalutin effect of as well as is slightly kiboshed, imo, by the pronouns and the short sentence. There are other emphatic devices that we may want to use - especially if we have a prescriptivist "grammar"-pedant for an editor!

Edit note: many thanks to F.E. for suggestions and the MWDEU citation.

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    It is lovely to see an authoritative answer that also makes sense. Thanks for your time! I will use this happily. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 20:12
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    Now this is explaining "things thoroughly". I'll choose this as the answer. Thanks. I think this would apply for similarly awkward structures such as "He, as well as we", am I correct?
    – IBG
    Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 0:30
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    @IBG Yes, definitely, imo. He as well as we is happy is definitely very painful! :) Commented Jan 23, 2015 at 13:33
  • It is indeed very painful to the senses, even for a non-native like me. I have been thinking of taking TOEIC this year. I hope it's not full of questions like these.
    – IBG
    Commented Jan 26, 2015 at 1:01
  • I imagine that the sentence would be vastly improved if we replace "as well as" with "and." Then it would be "She and I are..."
    – Steve
    Commented Mar 27 at 18:14

The subject is only “She”. The subject is therefore singular, and so "is" is correct.

The “as well as I” clause is an adverbial aside, not part of the main clause.

Thus, "She, as well as I, is tired of the work."

Consider another adverbial aside:

Frank, along with Tomoko, lives in Kyoto.

The verb here is also singular for the same reason.

  • Can you please explain what "adverbial aside" means? I haven't seen these two words put together, so I want to know what it means in this context. That aside, it's a clear explanation. Just to be clear, it works on plural forms too, am I correct? For example "She, as well as her friends is tired of the work".
    – IBG
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 5:57
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    I'd call what you call an 'adverbial aside' a parenthetical, in this case a free modifier giving reasonably closely related additional information. As a parenthetical, omitting it indicates the correct agreement. With 'Fred (and his friends) is/are coming', this 'rule' begins to look shaky. Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 14:36
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    Er, no. This answer is not right.
    – F.E.
    Commented Jan 21, 2015 at 19:31
  • @F.E. care to answer it authoritatively? I'll retract my selection for now, as it seems like no one's up for medica's bounty because there's already a selected correct answer.
    – IBG
    Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 1:44
  • @IBG - the bounty is up to me to confer. The upvoted answer does not influence that. Commented Jan 22, 2015 at 17:07

The sentence should be "She, as well as I, is tired of the work".

The section in commas is merely an aside and added on. The main phrase is still "She is tired of the work". The verb does not change in this case.


She, as well as I, is tired of the work.

= She is tired of the work (and I am as well).

She is the subject of the verb 'to be', so it must be 'is'. The 'as well as I' is parenthetical - it can be removed, and the sentence will still make sense (she is tired of the work). Most people would pause around the 'as well as I', hence the commas.

The sentence could also work without anything in there:

She, as well as I, tired of the work.

= She tired of the work (and I did as well).

Some other verb is also possible:

She, as well as I, became tired of the work.

= She became tired of the work (and I did as well).

The verb 'to tire', which is somewhat formal, means the same as the more common 'to become tired'.

Depending on context, 'am' is a possibility:

She, as well, as I am tired of the work.

= She also (did whatever was in the preceding sentence), because I am tired of the work.

'She' is the subject an implied repetition of the preceding verb and 'I' is the suject of 'to be', which is therefore 'am'

In all cases the 'as well as I' construction is unwieldy and a far more natural way of saying it would be:

She and I are (both) tired of the work.


Despite my forever buggy English, here is my take on this bogus: She as well as I are tired of the work.

In my own (Bulgarian) language we say: Tya kakto i az SME izmoreni ot rabotata. SME=ARE

Fellow participants, I am a big fan of dealing with n-gram aspect of English, just see: https://www.google.bg/search?q=%22i+are+tired%22&tbs=bks:1&lr=lang_en&gws_rd=cr,ssl&ei=KtS6VOiOOeH_ywOtpoKYCg

There, the first 3-gram is from English Grammar: Step by Step - Page 41: Sam and I are tired.

Second excerpt is from Letters to Padre Pio - Page 88: It's a fatiguing wait, Padre; and Penny and I are tired of the whole process.

In my view 'as well as' does not change anything, interestingly it transforms the subject 'She' into plural as in: United States Congressional serial set - Volume 11731 - Page 40: He as well as I are very lonesome without her. Notice the optional commas, in many instances 'as well as' is surrounded by them.

Strangely enough, the 2012 Google Books corpus (2+ million books) shows only 20 usages of "he as well as i are", perhaps because it is a 6-gram while main datasets are up to 5-gram!

@medica Hi, give these precious points to me, they will come strengthifying, with them I am gonna be able to comment, now the site requires 50 points to do so.


IS is wrong. ARE, from your choices is best.

The fourth one might have been GOT. As in "She, as well as I GOT tired of the work.

Still I think ARE would be most correct.


As pointed out graciously by F.E. (thank you again) and referenced in the question here: What is the correct verb that follows "as well as?"

In this case 'as well as' is behaving as the coordinator 'and', so if we take teh original sentence and look at it this way: "She and I is tired of the work" It's immediately clear to any native speaker that this is poor and incorrect in English.
We would immediately tend towards "She and I /are/ tired of the work"

The linked question is well supported with references from MWCDEU and others.

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    You're wrong. "She" is the subject of the sentence, so the verb would be "is."
    – Nicole
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 4:12
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    I'm no english major so I can't quote the rules of the grammar but "She, as well as I is tired of the work" doesn't sound right in spoken english. It kind of sound illiterate or ESL. Perhaps if there was a comma between I and is but as it's written, I just don't see it.
    – JoelAZ
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 4:16
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    JoelAZ, it does sound a bit stilted or unnatural, but would you say that for any sentence with the same structure? How about "Frank, as well as Bob, works on Saturday." Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 4:22
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    +1. The crowd is usually wrong. :)
    – F.E.
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 9:37
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    Thank you F.E.!! I knew it sounded odd but without the English degree couldn't support my position well. I've always deferred to my ear/instincts on this stuff as, for whatever reason, my instincts are generally good in this discipline. The linked question is spot on IMO so thank you. @IBG check out F.E.'s link. IMO this is the answer to your question.
    – JoelAZ
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 11:02

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