What are Filler Words? Is It Bad to Use Filler Words?

Should I use filler words
Should I use filler words
Should I use filler words

There is a confusion among all English learners – whether to use filler words or not. Are fillers actually bad to use while speaking?  So to give a clear picture, I am here back again to talk about “Should we use filler words?”. If Yes, When should you use filler words and where to use it?And by the end of this article, there is a tip to help you minimize the over use of filler words.

Lets first understand what is exactly filler words:

Fillers are some meaningless words or phrases that English speakers use to fill up gaps or pauses between sentences they speak. I would consider them as ‘helping words’ that helps you to think what to speak next. In simple words, filler words are used to avoid silence in a conversation and give you a moment to contemplate.

You can make your conversation more lively and remove awkward silence using filler words. So break the myth of considering yourself as a bad English speaker even if you use fillers. 

 You meet so many people during the entire day, it is impossible to script your dialogue. To avoid monotony in your speech, you use fillers.

If you have heard or listened to any English speaker, they use fillers in their conversation.

Let me explain this to you with an example – One of the most important ingredients in your kitchen is Salt. If you do not add it – the food will have no flavour at all. But if you add more than required – it will ruin the dish.

In a similar fashion, fillers add flavour to your speech. However, excessive use of filler words like umm, uh, yeah, okay will showcase hesitation, lack of words, nervousness and fear. 

Let me share with you all the filler words that you can apply while talking to a friend or making a conversation with anyone.

Do remember that filler words actually have no meaning. Any word that you use and has a meaning, is not a filler word.

Have a look at the conversation below with the use of filler expressions.

Mom : “ How was your day?”

Sam : “ Uh, It was quite tiresome.”

Mom : “ Oh! What did you do ?”

Sam : “ umm..Slept all day.”

Mom : Then you are tired of what?

Sam : “ umm..uh..er..tired of sleeping ! “

Fillers words are not just words but expressions. This is the reason people have started using these filler words not only at the time of speaking but also sending messages. Just to make it look more expressive and fun.

Here are some filler words that you can use:

  • Like 

Like means you mean something not known exactly.

 “ We can have like ten topics for the school project,”

“ I got like ten dollars.”

  • I mean 

You use ‘I mean’ when you want to explain a point but not getting the exact words.

“ I mean it was a great event.”

“ I mean the science museum is a decade old.”

  • I guess

‘I guess’ shows that you are confused or hesitant to speak.

“ I guess I know the answer to that question.”

“ I guess they are going to the restaurant.”

  • Okay

‘Okay’ is a word that shows you are agreeing to something or can be sign to show that you are accepting something.

Okay !  We will reach the site.”

“ Okay ! I am ready for the plan.”

  • Umm/Uh/er 

Umm/uh/er are pause breakers or words usually when you need time to answer. 

“ Umm.. that can be a great idea”

“ I know..uh..it was an octopus.”

Should we use fillers?

Imagine, when you use any of these words nearly ten times in a sentence. How would it sound? Quite inappropriate to sound  and eventually eliminates the essence of your words. It will also undermine the message of what you speak.

Look, you must know when to use fillers. It is quite normal to use fillers during a conversation with a friend. If you make it a habit, your words will be out of control. 

You will end up using fillers in situations like, while giving an interview or giving a presentation or delivering an important message. 

Fillers are not a symbol of confidence. The lesser you use it, the better the conversation will be!

How to minimize the use of fillers?

One best way to minimize the excessive use of fillers and overcome this habit of yours is to slow down and contemplate while speaking. Even if you use it, eliminate the word and substitute or replace it with some meaningful words.

The next activity you can do to avoid using fillers is – Speaking ten to fifteen minutes speaking on a topic without any use of fillers. This could be more effective when you talk to someone who  can heckle or stop you from doing so.

It is definitely not an overnight thing -It will take consistent practice to see improvement.


To conclude this topic – my final advice is that you should use the fillers but not repetitively.