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Option 1: An unemployed individual asks three essential questions following their loss of employment: Do I qualify for EI benefits? If I qualify, how much will I receive? How long will I receive EI benefits for?

What is the correct way to punctuate the sentence above (which can be seen as a list with 3 items, the items being Questions)? I have been pulling out my hair for a week on this and I still can't find a correct answer. I am following the Chicago Manual of Style. And there is nothing there of the sort.

I cannot use numbers or use a vertical list format. Some say put them in quotes, use commas, and add an "and" before the 3rd question (See Option 2). Some say write the Qs in italics with no quotations but with commas and "and".

Option 2: An unemployed individual asks three essential questions following their loss of employment: "Do I qualify for EI benefits?", "If I qualify, how much will I receive?", and "How long will I receive EI benefits for?"

Please note that I have looked at a similar Question in ELU, the answers there do have some errors (such as not writing a grammatically complete sentence before using a colon, which is required for CMoS) and did not solve my query.

  • There is no single correct way. This is a matter of style, and different guides (and people) handle it differently. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 20 at 2:40
  • @JasonBassford I see. But please tell me, how would you do it? – AIQ Jul 20 at 3:37
  • An unemployed individual asks three essential questions following their loss of employment: Do I qualify for EI benefits?; If I qualify, how much will I receive?; and How long will I receive EI benefits for? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 20 at 3:52
  • I would very much prefer to use (1), (2), and (3) in front of each respective question (in roman), but you indicate that numbers cannot be used. That's too bad, as it would make it far easier to parse—and is also a style I've seen more commonly used. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 20 at 3:55
  • An unemployed individual asks three essential questions following their loss of employment: (1) Do I qualify for EI benefits?; (2) If I qualify, how much will I receive?; and (3) How long will I receive EI benefits for? – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Jul 20 at 3:59
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Either your option 1 or your option two is grammatically acceptable, and communicates clearly. The choice is one of style, and if your style guide does not indicate a favored form, use whatever seems best to you. I tend to favor your option 1, my wife favors yout option 2. Or you could recast the sentence to put the three questiosn into indirect speech as:

An unemployed individual asks three essential questions following loss of employment: Is the person qualified for EI benefits, if so, how much will the benefits be and how long will they last.

This avoids the issue.

  • Thanks for the answer, can you please tell me a bit as to why you would prefer option 1? – AIQ Jul 20 at 4:30

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