In grade school, it was taught that commas represent pauses in speech. The teacher often said to read sentences aloud and place commas wherever there was a short pause.
Yet there are various authorities online that say this is a terrible idea. For example, Larry Trask tells readers that "this well-meaning advice is hopelessly misleading."
But then there are also some that are for the punctuate-by-breath method. Daily Writing Tips writes:
These rules may seem complicated. But there’s a simple test that usually works: When in doubt about whether or where to place a comma, read aloud the sentence in question, and visualize the comma as a hook that briefly makes the sentence run in place. If you hesitate or pause, insert the hook in the sentence to mark that place. If you don’t, don’t.
Is it a reliable rule of thumb? Or something that should be abandoned altogether?