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The following sentence sounds incorrect to me when read aloud.
"Eating and playing like the locals are important for enjoying the festive atmosphere."
I tried diagramming it and am clear on the "are" (linking verb), "important" (adjective) and the "for enjoying the festive atmosphere" (prepositional phrase). "Eating" and "playing" are gerunds and that's when it gets confusing for me. The "and" suggests a compound subject, which would make the use of plural "are" correct, but the addition of the "like the locals" makes me feel like the entire section before the verb is a gerund phrase and is therefore singular. Which, if any, of the two is correct? Please help.