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I have multiple questions that I want to put in one sentence.

Is this punctuation correct?

"Is there anyone who can read it? Understand it? Translate it?" OR "Is there anyone who can read it? understand it? translate it?"

Alternate would be:

"Is there anyone who can read it? Is there anyone who can understand it? Is there anyone who can translate it?"

  • My way would be "Is there anyone who can read, understand, or translate it?". For more emphasis you could add an "it" after "read" and another after "understand". – WS2 Oct 15 '17 at 13:54
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You needn't use it each time. This sentence is perfectly acceptable:

Is there anyone who can read, understand, and translate it?

When phrased in that manner, it's understood that all the verbs refer to it .

As aside, there is some redundancy in your sentence: If someone can translate it, they can certainly read and understand it, although sometimes building up the question in the way you have is done for dramatic effect.

Do you mean to say:

Is there anyone who can read, and perhaps also understand, or even translate it?

  • Really, Vector? D'you see no difference between and… and or translate it? – Robbie Goodwin Oct 28 '17 at 20:27
  • @RobbieGoodwin : ??? To translate writing, you must be able to read and understand it. The original sentence has logical order and it cannot be otherwise. One can read but not understand, read and understand, but not be able to translate, or do all three. The reverse, however, is not true. I believe that is quite clear. Thank you. – Vector Oct 28 '17 at 20:47
  • Uh… thanks, Vector. The Question was about punctuation, not logic. The original sentence did have a certain logical order and given three verbs, it could both grammatically and logically be otherwise; precisely, five different ways otherwise. Your own example moved the goal-posts into a wholly different ball-park where, don't you think, perhapsbent the rules and even changed the game itself? – Robbie Goodwin Oct 29 '17 at 5:37
  • @RobbieGoodwin : No. – Vector Oct 29 '17 at 9:41
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'Is there anyone who can read it ? Understand it ? Translate it ?

This is an emphatic way of conveying the questions. It would be used in speech if the speaker was stressing the lack of clarity of the document or drawing attention to the obscurity of the text of the document.

It is a common technique in public speaking. And a very effective one.

It would normally be accompanied with hand gestures to further drive home the fact of the difficulty represented by the troublesome document. The speaker would look round the audience, with raised eyebrows, making dramatic gestures as a means of visually pronouncing each question mark.

Stirring stuff.

When written, there is the same effect on paper.

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