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A post (Comma after "of course" at the beginning of a sentence?) gives a clear rule/suggestion about the usage of comma after the transition words/phrases at the beginning of a sentence.

... one should use commas after their transition word or phrase that starts a new sentence.

However, the example sentences in Cambridge Dictionary seem to invalidate this rule.

Firstly I would like to thank you for your kind offer of a job …

Firstly the sodium chloride is dissolved in the water and heated gently.

Is the comma in this case required, optional or unnecessary? Could someone please give a hint? Thanks in advance.

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  • As an editor, I would always put a comma in the text if it were not there. – Lambie Mar 30 '20 at 13:24
  • lexico.com/definition/firstly Click more example sentences. They do have a comma right after firstly. (Some examples have, some don't. Not sure why). I always put a comma after firstly, secondly etc. – Void Mar 30 '20 at 13:41
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According to Grammarly

Introductory words, like introductory phrases, require a comma. After introductory words, we use a comma to separate the introductory word from the independent clause.

Unless there are other words following an introductory word (e.g., firstly, however), a comma should follow the introductory word. If there are words with the introductory word, then the comma follows the phrase:

Firstly in my response, I would like to thank you for your kind offer of a job …

Firstly in our demonstration, the sodium chloride is dissolved in the water and heated gently.

However wonderful the gala might be, I cannot attend.

If the introductory word stands alone, it is followed by a comma. As to use with words like "firstly", I suppose to use or not could be a matter of style. However, punctuation is utilized for clarity and often parrots speech where a breath would be taken. As such, a comma after "firstly" would seem in order.

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  • Thank you. So, there should have been a comma follows "Firstly", in the example sentences from Cambridge Dictionary, right? – WXJ96163 Mar 30 '20 at 21:56
  • Correct. The page about "First, Firstly, or at First" is carelessly edited in the comma regard. Another page on Cambridge (dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/firstly) shows a consistency with regard to use of comma after "Firstly". – Katherine Mar 31 '20 at 12:35
  • The webpage given in the post you reference is an excellent reference for this matter ... writing.wisc.edu/handbook/style/transitions ... keep that at hand to address transitionals. – Katherine Mar 31 '20 at 12:40

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