Fillers in English language

Fillers are short, seemingly meaningless words used mostly only as part of verbal communication. They may be used intentionally or unintentionally by the speaker in place of pauses they create when determining what has to be spoken next without losing their train of thought by interrupting it with some other idea instead. Fillers not only help maintain this continuity in thinking, they also let the audience know the speaker is not done completely expressing their ideas, and that there’s more to come!

For example: “Umm”, “Uh”, and “You know?”

Fillers are generally not used in written communication. Exceptions can be made in informal written communication, such as blogs, chats, or social media posts.

For example: “like”, “literally”, and “believe it or not”.

In formal written communication, however, these words would only take up extra space and take away substance from one’s message and should thus, be avoided.

Fillers are also used for several other reasons. A few of them are as follows:

  • To determine the tone of the sentence: Normal statement: “I feel kittens are adorable.” Earnestness, such that the speaker may or may not have agreed with someone with opposing views: “Honestly, I feel kittens are adorable.” As a concluding note to an argument: “At the end of the day, I feel kittens are adorable.”
  • To gain more time to denote hesitation in responding: For example: Question: “Where’s the money I lent you last night?” Answer: “I. uh. umm. Actually, I spent all of it on shopping.”
  • To let your audience feel included without interrupting you: For example: “It was a really spooky apartment, you know?” Your listener would maybe nod in agreement and may feel involved in the conversation.

So to conclude, filler words may not seem as important at first, but they play a vital role in conversations.