If I were to write...

Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism is the majority religion in China.

Is this correct, because from what I remember the verb is, is suppose to connect the sentence with the last item on the list, and since it's singular, then IS, is correct.

closed as off-topic by Laurel, Cascabel, Hank, Hellion, tchrist Feb 11 '17 at 15:40

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    The verb accompanies all 3 nouns, thus must be plural. "[These 3 religions] are the majority religions in China." – Hank Feb 8 '17 at 18:46
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    It's incorrect because "Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism" is not one religion but three. – Hot Licks Feb 8 '17 at 18:52
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    Possible duplicate of Is it: My apples and orange are/is wrong? – Laurel Feb 10 '17 at 1:23
  • The rule you're thinking of doesn't apply to all lists, only to lists of alternatives (lists using "of"). – sumelic Feb 10 '17 at 2:46

When you join a string of nouns together as a subject, the whole string is treated as plural. So in this sentence, you need to use "are." If the conjunction were or rather than and, you would use the singular "is," because only one of those religions is the majority one.

There are trickier cases, for example...

There is a man in the garden and a woman in the office.

sounds much better to me as a native speaker of English than...

There are a man in the garden and a woman in the office.

This has to do with the fact that the first of the two nouns is singular, and they are sufficiently "far apart" for the singular "is" to sound OK. Many studies have been done on the variation in number marking (singular vs. plural) in English in cases like this.

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