Q. An author of an article I am copyediting asked me to restore the commas I had deleted in the following sentence: “Most of my nightmares are a process of working out a deeper objectivity about, and unity with, what God would have me do.” I do not mind the two commas in this sentence, although I prefer it without. However, I know the proofreader will object. Can you refer me to a rule I can cite to get either the author or the proofreader to back down?
A. Yes. When commas are optional and the author wants them in, even after the copy editor has suggested taking them out, the copy editor should leave them in. The proofreader doesn’t get to decide. Simply write “stet commas, per author” in the margin.