the problem is:
I can't decide which - singular or plural verb must be used with the following: The first group of tasks involve....or involves...
Thank you for explanation of the above.
The first group of tasks involves.
The grammatical subject of this sentence is the singular group (of tasks).
Thank you, my opinion was the same as yours, however, I found a text in which the same sentence was used twice and with the different verb number.
have a good day,
The subject-verb agreement rule is no doubt one of the most important and most pervasive frameworks of English usage, but as most of us know, applying this rule is not always that simple. This is because aside from ensuring grammatical agreement between verb and subject, English also takes into account notional agreement...The subject-verb agreement rule becomes even tougher to apply in constructions where there is strong ambiguity in the choice of the number to be taken by the verb. Take this sentence, for instance: “A wide assortment of dishes has been/have been ordered for the party.” The traditional approach, of course, is to make the verb agree with the grammatical subject of the sentence, which in this case is the singular noun “assortment,” so the singular verb “has been” becomes the logical choice. However, it can also be convincingly argued that the noun phrase “a wide assortment of dishes,” which is plural in sense, is the proper subject, so the plural “have been” can also be a logical choice. Using the plural verb for such constructions is actually gaining wider acceptance, but the singular verb remains the favored usage. What this means is that we can have it either way without messing up our grammar.
Last edited by corum; 02-Dec-2010 at 12:50.
Quirk et. al.
Principles of grammatical concord, notional concord,
10.35 The rule that the verb matches its subject in number may be called the
principle of GRAMMATICAL CONCORD. Difficulties over concord arise through
occasional conflict between this and two other principles: the principle of
NOTIONAL CONCORD and the principle of PROXIMITY.
Notional concord is agreement of verb with subject according to the notion
of number rather than with the actual presence of the grammatical marker
for that notion. In British English, for example, collective nouns such as
government are often treated as notionally plural:
The government have broken all their promises. (BrE)
In this example, the plural notion is signalled not only by the plural verb
have, but also by the pronoun their.
No one except his own supporters agree with him.
The preceding plural noun supporters has influenced the choice of the plural
verb agree, although the subject No one except his own supporters is
grammatically singular, since the head no one is singular. On the other hand,
the proximity principle is here reinforced by notional concord ('Only his own
supporters agree with him'), making the sentence somewhat more acceptable
than if the proximity principle alone applied.
English speakers are often uncertain about the rules of concord.
Prescriptive teaching has insisted rather rigidly on grammatical concord,with the result that people often experience a conflict between this rule and
the rule of notional concord, which tends to prevail over it.
Ten dollars is all I have left.
That five dollars is not enough.
I appreciate both of the stands. And the discussion thereof.
Have a good day,
Singular and plural may be simple in theory, but in practice they are complex and there are different views. In this case, though I will often use the principle of proximity, it sounds better to me in the singular; you have first + group here, which I think over-rides the plural noun that comes next.
This does, of course, complicate the picture because I agree with Fivejedjon but for different reasons as I don't think that allowing verbs to agree with adjacent nouns is wrong. I think 'There's a dog and a cat outside' sounds better than 'there are a dog and a cat outside', and would argue that it is a perfectly correct sentence..