Q. Vertical lists punctuated as a sentence! CMOS 6.131 recommends semicolons or commas at the end of list items that complete a sentence. As with run-in lists (6.129), would you recommend putting commas at the ends of items when all items contain no internal commas or other complications to their syntax? Would you use semicolons in every list (punctuated as a sentence) in a document if so much as one list contains one item that has an internal comma?
A. Chicago style does not put punctuation at the end of list items as a rule (please see CMOS 6.130), but it allows for semicolons if the list items are complex and contain commas. This means that in some documents, some complex vertical lists may feature semicolons at the ends of items and others, less complex, may have commas or no punctuation at all. Whether the presence of a single comma in a single list item would require the addition of semicolons to render the list readable is a matter of editorial judgment, and not something that CMOS is likely to legislate.