This is not the same as the other topics.

"I don't want to be a part of THE GROUP who damages/damage the reputation of their own company."

What you are trying to say is, you don't want to include yourself in THE GROUP who damages/damages a company's reputation?

What is the correct verb here?


From Oxford Learner's Dictionaries...

group noun
countable + singular or plural verb
a number of people or things that are together in the same place or that are connected in some way
Example usage: A group of us is/are going to the theatre this evening.

Although it's not specifically mentioned there, I should point out that AmE has always tended to treat similar "composite entity" nouns (family, company, [the] government], [the] police,...) as singular in all contexts.

BrE is more flexible on this point, and thus probably more likely than AmE to treat group as plural in contexts where the relevant verb more logically attaches to each individual person or thing within the group, rather than to the group as a single entity. That's to say, in BrE we often treat a group as syntactically equivalent to members of a group if that's a better semantic match for the context.

In OP's specific context, the relativizer who only really works with a plural verb form (a group who damage reputations). With a singular verb, it would have to be a group that damages reputations.

  • Right, so when you are focusing on "the group" it will be "I don't want to be a part of the GROUP who DAMAGE the reputation of a company" right?. This, is a bit confusing to me because I was thinking if the subject in this sentece is "I" or "THE GROUP" that's why. – John Arvin Nov 7 '18 at 16:02
  • The subject of the whole sentence is indeed I, but that's got nothing to do with the part we're looking at, since it could just as well have been preceded by plural My friends don't want to be part of... An example where the relevant component is the subject would be The group who support racism are not welcome here. Where as explained earlier, it's the use of who that forces us to treat it as plural. That's not the case with The group that support / supports racism are / is not welcome here, where both are fine to me (as a Brit??!! :) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 7 '18 at 16:16

According to the Cambridge Dictionary


a number of people or things that are put together or considered as a unit

If we simplify that definition: a group is a unit. In the phrase "a group are a unit" the verb does not match neither the subject nor the object.

The example provided with the above definition backs up this reasoning

This group of chemicals is known to be harmful to people with asthma.

So, the correct form is the singular one: damages

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