Let me first start by clarifying, I believe there is a point that has been missed in this question before. Consider that before marking it a repeat:

What is the precise differentiation between a bonus action and an action?

I believe that the combination of two weapon fighting and Extra Attack (granted at Level 5 Paladin) allows for a total of 4 attacks. Can anyone confirm this? Let me outline.

Extra attack: "Beginning at 5th Level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action on your turn."

Two Weapon Fighting: "...you can use a bonus action to attack with a different light melee weapon...".

Most answers I've seen say three attacks, i.e. You get the Attack Action, which includes 2 attacks, and the bonus Action which includes 1 attack.

However, I believe the correct breakdown is first to thinking You get the Attack Action, which grants a Bonus Action (Attack Action). Now both of these Attack Actions should benefit from Extra Attack, giving 4 (lower case a) attacks within 2 (upper case A) Attack Actions. Thoughts?

The rules seem clear, that a bonus action is an action. And an action used to attack is an attack action. Thus, a bonus action used to attack is an attack action.

If this is not the case, where is there a clear distinction between bonus action and action?

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's not correct, that requires 10 rep to answer. Also, if you re-read my breakdown, there is only one Bonus Action. That bonus action has two attacks. It's important to note than an attack (lower case a) is not an Action. In my example, each Action (initial and bonus) has two attacks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kang
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 18:15
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It's really hard for me to understand how this isn't fundamentally an attempted competing answer at some other "how many attacks?" question. That said, you've asked some specific questions and gotten at least one answer, so I'm inclined to leave it be. I've also unprotected the Q&A that medix2 linked so that you can submit your competing interpretation there, if you like. Happy gaming! \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 18:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ This very much seems like a duplicate of something, but it's unclear exactly what the question is here. Are you asking how many attacks a paladin with two weapon fighting gets after 5th level? Or are you asking asking about the difference between the Attack action vs just an attack? Or something else? \$\endgroup\$
    – NotArch
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 18:38
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? How many attacks can a fighter with two-weapon fighting make at 5th level? \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Commented May 17, 2020 at 19:09
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I've removed my earlier comments and am posting this so that new answerers might see it: Please support, using textual evidence, why a bonus action that involves an attack either is or it not considered to be the Attack action. This is, as I understand it, the crux of the question here \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 24, 2020 at 3:39

1 Answer 1


A Bonus Action attack is not an Attack Action.

The Player's Handbook, Ch 9 talks about the actions you can take during the Action portion of your turn. One of those actions is the Attack Action.

According to Two-Weapon Fighting

When you take the Attack action...you can use a bonus action to attack....

If either weapon has the thrown property, you can throw the weapon, instead of making a melee attack with it.

So, when you take the Attack Action, you can use a Bonus Action to attack and make "a melee attack". Regardless of how many attacks you get when you take the Attack Action, you only get the one, single melee attack as a Bonus Action.

But, just to be extra sure, let's take a look at Bonus Actions themselves. Under the Your Turn section of the Player's Handbook (Ch 9) there are rules for how Bonus Actions work.

You can take a bonus action only when a special ability, spell, or other feature of the game states that you can do something as a bonus action. You otherwise don't have a bonus action to take.

You can take only one bonus action on your turn, so you must choose which bonus action to use when you have more than one available.

Whenever a Bonus Action allows you to do something that is typically an Action, it specifically says what and how you can do it.

  • For instance, the Rogue class feature Cunning Action allows a Rogue to:

...take a bonus action on each of your turns in combat. This action can be used only to take the Dash, Disengage, or Hide action.

  • Another example is the Cleric's Healing Word spell. Spell casting typically requires the Cast a Spell Action, yet here we have a spell with a cast time of a Bonus Action. Does that mean you can take the Cast a Spell Action to cast what ever you want and cast Healing Word as well?? No. According to the Spellcasting rules (PHB,Ch 10) when you want to cast a spell with a cast time of 1 Bonus Action:

You must use a bonus action on your turn to cast the spell, provided that you haven't already taken a bonus action this turn. You can't cast another spell during the same turn, except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action.

Neither of the examples above are attacks. Since there are a variety of Bonus Actions available in the game, a Bonus Action is not automatically related to an attack.

Finally, you are not getting an Action as a bonus (small 'b'), but are instead triggering a Bonus Action which is its own unique entity and is not part of the normal action economy. Special game mechanics give you a Bonus Action which you can only use for specific purposes, you don't use a Bonus Action to take the Attack Action.

So, while I can aaaaaalmost see your logic, the rules clearly say that a Bonus Action gives an attack, not an Attack Action.


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