1

Which sentence is grammatical?

1) He as well as I were invited to the party.

2) He as well as me was invited to the party.

Almost all books seem to suggest that the verb should agree with the first of its subjects. As in, The Prime Minister as well as several Cabinet Ministers believes in a tough financial policy. But what should I do when both of the subjects are pronoun? Which one do native speakers usually use?

3
  • 1
    "me" is never a subject. Is that a mistake in sentence 2?
    – gotube
    Jun 10, 2023 at 17:31
  • In sentence 2, me is not a part of the subject. Jun 10, 2023 at 17:36
  • 1
    Then what's "I" in the first sentence?
    – gotube
    Jun 10, 2023 at 17:53

2 Answers 2

1

The correct form is...

He, as well as I, 1 was invited

To quote from this answer to essentially the same syntactic point...

Rule 5a.
Sometimes the subject is separated from the verb by such words as along with, as well as, besides, not, etc. These words and phrases are not part of the subject. Ignore them and use a singular verb when the subject is singular.

Examples:
The politician, along with the newsmen, is expected shortly.
Excitement, as well as nervousness, is the cause of her shaking.


1 Some people might claim me is incorrect here simply because Me was invited is universally unacceptable. That's not a valid argument, because many people have no problem with You and me are friends, right? (but it still should be You and I).

5
  • Can you give me a good reference for the example you have given? The sentence seems ungrammatical. Oct 1, 2023 at 20:31
  • You are basically saying that as well as is a conjunction but that's not what the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language says. If you use a coordinated subject the verb is plural. Oct 1, 2023 at 20:35
  • Are you seriously saying that according to your (mis)understanding of CGEL, you think He, as well as I, was invited is "ungrammatical"? (That it should be ...were invited.) That's not how the natives speak. I just linked to an earlier answer, but the examples are from grammarbook.com. Oct 2, 2023 at 10:00
  • ...if that's too modern for you, here's The Progressive English Grammar from 1866: James , as well as John , was present = James was present as well ( in the same manner ) as John ( was present ). Oct 2, 2023 at 10:02
  • ...if you want a "rule" for this context, it's that as well as I/me in such constructions is a parenthetical element. So nothing about the syntax of the containing text changes, whether that parenthetical element is present or not. Oct 2, 2023 at 10:12
0

The first sentence ("He as well as I were invited to the party") just doesn't sound right to my ears.

As far as the technicality of grammar is concerned, I think whether the subject is noun or pronoun plays no role in the determination of whether to use singular or plural verb. Rather, what matters is the number of the subject.

While “as well as” can mean “and”, it in the context of the given sentences means “in addition to” (as opposed to “in addition” or “and”).

And, whereas well asmeansin addition to”, what comes after “as well as” doesn’t change the number of the subject. Therefore, the number of the subject is the number of the item that is before the “as well as”. In other words, irrespective of the presence of “as well as + whatever”, the verb must follow or agree with the number of what’s before theas well as”. Why? Because hereas well asmeansin addition towhich is NOT a conjunction.

So, the technicality of grammar knocks out the first sentence ("He as well as I WERE invited to the party") because of the use of the plural verb “WERE” since “He” the controlling part of the subject is singular.

Irrespective of the technicalities of grammar, we still can accept something as grammatical when lots of native speakers popularly and practically use that. But I can’t remember hearing too many people using “WERE” in the identical types of situations.

Accordingly, whether talking about the natural use in terms of the way I am used to or the technicality of grammar, what seems grammatical to me is ONLY:

He, as well as me/I, was invited to the party.”


NOTE

For written English, we should insert commas as reflected above.

2
  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Jun 11, 2023 at 6:42
  • Replying to Community Bot's comment, my answer or what I have written is perfectly clear and perfectly focused on the topic presented by the question in the original post. Jun 14, 2023 at 18:31

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