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The following question is quite similar, but it's not a duplicate because my example sentence does not follow up with a conjuction.

Which instance of the following sentence is right:

We cannot expect another person to say, "That is correct" if we appeal to circular reasoning.

We cannot expect another person to say, "That is correct," if we appeal to circular reasoning.

We cannot expect another person to say, "That is correct." if we appeal to circular reasoning.

I'm particularly interested in how this should be resolved according to Chicago Manual of Style.

I'm aware that I could reword the sentence in the ways presented below, but I would prefer to have an answer to my question:

We cannot expect another person to conclude that we are correct if we appeal to circular reasoning.

If we appeal to circular reasoning, we cannot expect another person to agree with us.

If we appeal to circular reasoning, we cannot expect another person to say, "That is correct."

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  • Another example where reformulation would not be reasonably possible is: The sentence “That is correct” has three words. – celtschk May 1 '18 at 19:17
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I don't think The Chicago Manual of Style would say that any of your example sentences are correct. I believe it should be:

We cannot expect another person to say "that is correct" if we appeal to circular reasoning.

Here's why:

13.15: No comma to introduce a quotation

Many writers mistakenly use a comma to introduce any direct quotation, regardless of its relationship to the surrounding text. But when a quotation introduced midsentence forms a syntactical part of the surrounding sentence, no comma or other mark of punctuation is needed to introduce it, though punctuation may be required for other reasons.

Donovan made a slight bow and said he was “very glad.”

One of the protesters scrawled “Long live opera!” in huge red letters.

According to one critic, Copland’s style could be called “American urban pastoral, with a touch of jazz and more than a hint of Stravinsky.”

She said she would “prefer not to comment.”

So, there should be no initial comma. Nor should there be any other punctuation around the quote because there would not be any (syntactically) if it weren't a quote.

Further, this also applies (and was followed in several of the example sentences above):

13.19: Initial capital or lowercase—run-in quotations

When a quotation introduced midsentence forms a syntactical part of the sentence (see also 13.15), it begins with a lowercase letter even if the original begins with a capital.

Benjamin Franklin admonishes us to “plough deep while sluggards sleep.”

With another aphorism he reminded his readers that “experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other”—an observation as true today as then.

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