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Hi!

The first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature.

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The underline'that' seems t be referring to 'influences'.....

Then why 'that'? not 'those', 'influences' is a plural........
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"Influences" is plural, but "first of the influences" can be either singular or plural, depending on whether "first" refers to the first one or the first few. Here there's only one named influence (the influence of nature), so "first" means "first one" and is therefore singular.
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pructusThe first in time and the first in importance of the influences upon the mind is that of nature.
It's not an easy sentence. You have a compound subject, so you'd think a plural verb would be required. If you said, "One of the important influences is that of nature," you'd easily accept that "influences" is not the subject, and you'd reject "One of the important influences are those of nature."

The first boy and the first girl are those who first complete their work without an error.

In the original, I almost want to say the second subject is in apposition to the first, but I don't think I can, since it really gives new information. (Maybe parenthetical (no pun intended))

- A.

Now I'm really getting confused. "The first influence on the mind and the first influence on the body is nature." (Never mind turning it around.)

Last year the winner of the Australian Open, and the winner of Wimbledon, and the winner of the US Open was Roger Federer. I guess logic trumps syntax. Never thought about it.
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Thanks Mr Wordy and Avangi !!

I need to take time to give it some thought........
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