I have a dilemma. Last week I have received my manuscript from the proof-reader. There were a lot of changes, especially in punctuation and grammar. She did say that it was more than she would have expected, so you can imagine my concern.
Anyway, I got to work reviewing and accepting changes. Then, at about a half-way mark, I finally had to admit that “something ain’t right”. Specifically, the following two types of changes appeared over and over:
1. Adding a comma before “and” in a simple sentence, such as “Blah, blah,” he said, and offered his hand.
2. Past perfect everywhere, such as “I had never even heard of it before”.
I have googled the bejesus out of these two points and found that:
1. No comma. The only way a comma would be appropriate, if it was an independent clause, such as:”Blah, blah,” he said, and then he offered his hand. Note that there are two subjects, “he” and then “he” again.
2. It should be “have”, because while she’s never heard of it before, she’s heard of it now, as in “I’ve never even heard of it before”.
Still, I was not sure. After all, I’m Russian and the proofreader is educated and may I mention, being paid for this. I have emailed the proofreader. No answer. I finally got her on the phone. After I finished describing the point 1, I asked what rule dictates the comma. The answer? “No rule”.
“Then why is it there?” I asked.
“There’s a pause there, so it felt natural to add a comma,” she said.
I was flabbergasted. I am not paying for an opinion, I’m paying for expertise.
“The manuscript seems overpunctuated,” I said.
“You don’t have to use it,” she said, cool as a cucumber.
I was so shocked that I forgot to bring up point #2 and got off the phone. I feel like a deflated baloon, not even sure if there are other changes she’s suggested based on how it feels, rather than the grammar rules. I’m not sure what I should do. The way I see it, I have two options:
1. Pay her and forget about it, instead starting from the beginning and going through the manuscript and suggested changes myself, researching each questionable point. Pros: one hell of an English lesson I’ll never forget. Cons: hella pissed off about paying someone to confuse me.
2. Send it back to her and tell her to re-do using English rules and not opinions, if she wants me to pay the full price, or negotiate a discounted price to finish it myself.
My sweet and kind partner thinks I should not fight her. My feisty sister’s advice is “it’s on!”. What do you think?