How can I know clearly what a conjunction and a preposition is?

According to Answer.com's dictionary for the phrase 'as well as' :

as well as

And in addition: courageous as well as strong.


In addition to: “The rhetoric [of the Justices], as well as the reasoning, is appreciated” (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.).

Can you tell me what a conjunction is doing is the first example and what a preposition is doing in the second example. If you could tell me what their functions are for the above examples or for a general sentential context, I think I might come to a good understanding of their respective roles in a general contextual situation and perhaps, in a specific contextual situation. I think a conjunction can be said to be a word or phrase that connects a word, phrase, or clause but that doesn't help me much
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Hi, Anon,

In my humble opinion, there's something wrong with your excerpt. What I think I see are two examples of the conjunction "as well as." What the word "prep" is doing there I'd need to look at your source to figure out.

One method I often use to check for conjunctions is substituting "and" for the phrase or word in question. It doesn't always work, but if the new construction makes any sense at all, you probably have a conjunction. (1) the rhetoric AND the reasoning [are] appreciated. (2) courageous AND strong. I also have somewhere in my head a list of common conjunctions (and, but, because) which I can try. Unfortunately, some words function sometimes as conjunctions and sometimes as prepositions. "I'd like to go with you EXCEPT I have to study." "I can eat everything EXCEPT spinach." You can tell the first one is a conjunction because it connects things which are somewhat equal (two independent clauses.) The second is a preposition because it fits the definition, "shows the relation of one word to another part of the sentence." I also have a list of common prepositional phrases somewhere in my head. I think of them as describing locations (behind the bush, up the hill, around the corner, down the road, under the table, on the roof.)

Oh my gosh! Now that I've stared at your excerpt for a few minutes, I realize they're claiming the second example to be a preposition. (I believe you're probably way ahead of me!) I think it's a reach. Very subtle. It comes down to the difference between "and in addition" and "in addition to". I believe it's impossible to solve this by separating the syntax from the meaning. My guess is, in the first case they're adding another item of equal value. In the second case, justices SHOULD be appreciated for their reasoning, and by the way, their rhetoric ain't bad either. So the reasoning is the main thought, and "in addition to" would show the relation of "rhetoric" to that main thought.

Hey, who said this site is for beginners?
One simple way to look at the difference between a PREP (preposition) & a CONJ (conjunction) is that while a PREP is a word (or words) that placed before a noun or pronoun to show the kind of relationship the person or thing denoted by it stands in regard to something else, a CONJ is a word (or words) that merely joins together sentences and perhaps words. A PREP not only joins words, it governs a noun or pronoun, which usually is the object of the preposition; a CONJ merely joins and does no other work.

In courageous as well as strong, the phrase ‘as well as’ means ‘and in addition’. It merely joins two adjectives together. It is a CONJ., a coordinating PHRASE CONJ. You may even loosely translate it into ‘courageous and strong’. In The rhetoric [of the Justices], as well as the reasoning, is appreciated" (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.), the phrase ‘as well as’ means ‘in addition to’. It shows in what relation the noun ‘the reasoning’ denoted by ‘as well as’ stands in regard to ‘The rhetoric’ which happens to be a noun also. So what the sentence means is this: In addition to the reasoning, the rhetoric is appreciated. Reasoning is appreciated, so is rhetoric. ‘Reasoning’ is the object of the PREP ‘as well as’. The difference in meaning might be slight; they do perform very different grammatical function.

We will, as Avangi did, use ‘except’ for another example. In she hardly ever goes out except to visit her mother, “except’ here merely connects 2 parts of the sentence together; it is a CONJ. In She goes out every day except Sunday, ‘except’ not only joins ‘every day’ and ‘Sunday’, it shows what or how in relation the noun ‘Sunday’ denoted by ‘except’ stands in regard to ‘every day’. ‘Except’ in this sentence is therefore a PREP. It governs ‘Sunday’ which is the object of the PREP 'except'.

Some words are used not only as PREP, CONJ but also as an adverb. Take the word ‘since’, for example. In I haven’t slept since yesterday, ‘since’ is PREP. In we’ll go since you want us to, ‘since’ is a CONJ. In I haven’t seen him since, ‘since’ is an adverb.
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Thank you, Avangi and Buddaheart.

Who said someone who racked up a few tens or a mere hundred or so in their number of posts can't be trusted with great help?
i like to look at verbs,they are very fun to look at,but You need to Look at the nouns,Verbs,pronouns, and the rest of it!!Emotion: smile
I guess the confusion with 'except' being preposition or conjunction in the sentence "She eats everything except spinach" can be cleared if we decide what the function of the word 'except' is. Let us substitute.

Does it mean: She eats everything except (but) spinach?

or does it mean She eats everything except (with the exception of ) spinach?

In the first substitution but is not a conjuction as in: 'She eats everything but she leaves the spinach out.' where two independent sentences are joined by the conjuction but.

The second substitution is of a preposition where except has been expanded to a prepositional phrase and has spinach as its noun object.

So it is a preposition. Emotion: smile
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conjunction connects sentences ,wheras ,preposition indicates location ,direction
The proper Difinition of conjuction is..

onjunctions join different parts of a sentence together. The very word conjunction comes from Latin words for 'join together' And Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs and also usually match up evenly matched parts of the sentence. Common correlative conjunctions in English are 'both ... and', 'either ... or', and 'neither ... nor'.
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