Filler Words in English

Filler words help fill in pauses and gaps in conversations and speeches when we are thinking about answering a question.

Many knowledgeable people think that the use of such filler words depicts the insufficient vocabulary of the speaker.

Still, these words are often considered to be ‘style’ of speech, as they are also used by people who speak fluently.

In fact, filler words perform a necessary psychological function.

Since we all are human beings and not robots, we need time to process the information or question, and then we can give genuine answers in response.

Below we will come across some filler words used by both native and learning English speakers.

See how these words could be beneficial and what their drawbacks are.


This word is usually used to score some time and clear one’s thoughts.


This word is also an exclamation in English grammar that is sometimes used when you cannot find other words or phrases.

For example, your brother bought a new shirt, and when he shows it to you (you don’t like it), you say “Wow!” to avoid hurting his feelings.

This word is also used to express a variety of positive emotions. It may express astonishment, excitement, surprise, or happiness.


This word is known to all as it is the most simple word to show agreement over a topic of discussion. It is very frequently used while speaking or writing.

It is sometimes shortened to the word ‘ok’ while writing.

No way

It is used when you are shocked by something and are in a denial state.

Either you can not find the right words, or it is hard to believe something. It also shows your resistance to doing a particular task.

Tell me something

When you are about to ask a personal natured question, you should use this phrase to announce the question and let the other person digest it.

For example, Suzi, tell me something, how is your relationship going with Paul?

You see

Virtually, this expression has no meaning in the English language. It is genuinely just a filler phrase.

Sometimes, it is used in coordination with a thought that the person you are talking to does not understand or is not aware of something.

By the way

Its meaning is ‘incidentally,’ and it helps the speaker to talk about a minor topic that is unrelated to the discussion going on.


This is an appropriate expression to fill a pause in the conversation, and at the same time, it is used to express agreement concerning the current topic.

Words like, yeah or you’re right can be replaced by this. It sounds more professional.

To be honest

In situations where you are uncomfortable to answer a question, but you want to tell the truth, this word is the one exact word in such situations.

For example: To be honest, I feel my Paul is dishonest to me.

You know

It is an actual filler word. It has no meaning, yet native and fluent speakers often use it.


This word helps to tell the other person with whom the conversation is going on that you are focused on listening to the discussion or that you do agree with them.

It can also be used in the place of “yes,” and shows more positiveness than the word ‘yes.’


When you are almost at the end of your long speech, usually then this filler word is used to help you summarize all the topics spoken very clearly. It is a guide filler word. 

Final Thoughts

Of course, we should try to limit the use of these words as excessive use can make both the speaker as well as the listener feel uncomfortable, and you will be forced to clarify your speech or understanding.

Hence, they can be used sparingly, as they will help you speak and keep a conversation or a speech go smoothly.

Good luck!

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