Tips for using English filler words (um, uh, like) effectively | Speak New York

If you’re a non-native English speaker, you may have noticed that native English speakers often use filler words such as “um,” “uh,” and “like” in their conversations. While these words may seem unnecessary, they can actually serve a valuable purpose in communication. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some tips for using English filler words effectively.

Section 1: Understanding the Purpose of Filler Words

Filler words are used to fill pauses in conversation while the speaker gathers their thoughts or considers their response. They also serve to signal to the listener that the speaker is not finished speaking. In addition, filler words can convey emotions such as hesitation, uncertainty, or excitement.

Section 2: Using Filler Words in Conversations

Using filler words in conversations can help you sound more fluent and natural. However, it’s important to use them in moderation and with intention. Overusing filler words can make you sound unprofessional or nervous.

Section 3: Choosing the Right Filler Word

Different filler words have different meanings and connotations. For example, “um” and “uh” convey hesitation or uncertainty, while “like” is often used to compare or draw a connection between things. When choosing a filler word, consider the context of the conversation and the message you want to convey.

Section 4: Practice Using Filler Words

Practice using filler words in your conversations with native English speakers. Pay attention to how they use filler words and try to incorporate them into your own speech. With practice, you’ll become more comfortable using filler words and they will come more naturally to you.


Section 5: Using Filler Words in Presentations

Using filler words in presentations can be distracting and unprofessional. However, it’s natural to feel nervous while presenting, and filler words can help you gather your thoughts and convey confidence. To use filler words effectively in presentations, practice your presentation beforehand and focus on speaking slowly and clearly.

Section 6: Overcoming Filler Word Habits

If you find yourself overusing filler words, there are several strategies you can use to overcome this habit. For example, try pausing instead of using a filler word, or practice speaking more slowly to give yourself time to think. You can also record yourself speaking and listen for patterns of overuse.


In conclusion, filler words are a natural part of spoken English and can serve a valuable purpose in communication. By understanding their purpose and using them intentionally, you can improve your fluency and sound more natural in your conversations. Remember to practice using filler words and be mindful of their use in different contexts. With these tips, you’ll be able to use filler words effectively and confidently in your English conversations.

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