Conversation Fillers


What are conversation fillers?

During a conversation, silence can be embarrassing. In order to keep the conversation going, it is recommended to use conversation fillers. These are words, phrases or merely sounds that we use to actively listen to someone speaking or to give ourselves thinking time before we answer a question, especially if we don't understand it. Conversation fillers fall under the category of formulaic language that we retrieve from memory to sound fluent.

Conversation fillers

Conversation fillers will help you sound fluent like a native speaker. Here are some examples of conversation fillers.

While listening

  • Really?
  • Right
  • Sure
  • How awful!
  • Oh no!
  • You're joking!
  • What a pity!
  • Auxiliary verbs to make short questions (as in "Have you? did you? Is it?...")
  • Non-words (as in "mmm, uh-huh...")

While speaking

  • Well
  • Ok
  • So
  • Let me think...
  • I mean
  • I guess/think
  • You know
  • Like (as in "I'm... like... really sad that you lost your...")
  • What I want to say is…
  • The point I want to make is....
  • Anyway,…
  • Well, what I mean is that …
  • Back to our topic …
  • As I was saying …
  • The basic idea is…
  • kind of... (as in "he's kind of nice...")

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