Robert’s question: “My manager has told me to insert a comma after the first few words in a sentence. However, I was taught to use commas wherever I would take a breath. I don’t often take a breath at the beginning of a sentence. What do you think?”
BizWritingTip response: The comma-with-a-breath rule is outdated. As people have different breathing/speaking patterns, it really doesn’t work. There are now very firm rules on when to use commas.
The first rule is to insert them after introductory phrases in a sentence. Think of an introductory phrase as one that sets the stage for the upcoming message.
Based on our findings, we decided to proceed with the project.
As you requested, I checked our files.
At the June 2 meeting, the board requested staff to …
It makes you, the writer, look lazy when people omit the commas.