Here's a situation I run into regularly as a freelance editor. Writers always want to use commas to offset material following an attribution, regardless of whether the following material is a phrase or clause:
"That's what I thought," he said, without looking up from his book.
The only thing that makes me hesitate to delete the comma is that we do tend to pause here in speech; if I were to read this sentence out loud, with or without the comma, I would insert a pause between "said" and "without." Is that enough grounds for leaving the comma as it is?
Thanks for any advice!