Please help the newbee (Contract programmer for 20 years but new to PHP)

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I can't seem to set the width of my columns in this table every thing I =
try gives me error and with the code thats here sometimes the columns =
have multi lines and some times not always with the same data
function displayGroups(){
   global $database;
   $q = "SELECT * FROM groupnames";
   $result = $database->query($q);
   /* Error occurred, return given name by default */
   $num_rows = mysql_numrows($result);
   if(!$result || ($num_rows < 0)){
      echo "Error displaying info";
   if($num_rows =3D 0){
      echo "Database table empty";
   /* Display table contents */

   echo "<table align=3D\"left\" border=3D\"1\" cellspacing=3D\"1\" =
   echo "<tr><td><big>Groups in alphabetical =
order</big></td><td><b>Description of the general purpose of this group</b></td></tr>\n";
   for($i=3D0; $i<$num_rows; $i++){
      $Group  = mysql_result($result,$i,"groupnames.groupname");    
  $Descript  = mysql_result($result,$i,"groupnames.description");    
/*      echo "<tr><td>$Group</td></tr>\n";  */

      echo "<tr><td><a =

   echo "</table><br>\n";

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