Filler Words: um, er, like, okay, right

By 11 febrero, 2017 English, Errores, Español 38 Comments

Time estimated to read it: 2 min 49 sec

Everyone might use filler words without realizing it. What is a filler word? An apparently sound, word or phrase that don’t add any real value to the sentence and marks a hesitation or a pause in speech. In Spanish call them “muletillas” or “palabras comodín”. Why do we use those meaningless words so often? Because we try to save time and to fill the silence. We have even found some “um” and “uh” maps.

How can you avoid them? Quite easy: don’t be afraid of silence. Therefore, next time you’re tempted to use a filler word, try being silent and listening to the other person instead.

Some of the common filler words in English are:

  1. “um,” “eh,” or “well”
  2. “so”
  3. “like”
  4. “well”
  5. “you know”
  6. “really”
  7. “just”
  8. “ok”, “right”
  9. “I mean”
  10. “actually”

Via: Communicatalyst

Some of the common filler words in Spanish are:

  1. Es decir
  2. Desde luego
  3. O sea
  4. Digo yo
  5. Hombre/tío, mujer/tía
  6. Bien, vale
  7. Oye
  8. Claro

As Harvard University says:

“When you use a filler word such as ‘um’ you are thinking verbally. In other words, you are verbalizing your thought process. Armed with this information, it is easy to realize that the best way to avoid using filler words is to pause”.

Therefore, remember to use silence to combat the “um” and “you know”. Because sometimes silence is the best answer.


Thank you so much for your time and see you soon, here in Translage.

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