filler words, discourse markers 填充语

“English is like, totally fun to learn, you know?"

这一句中,“like,” “totally” and “you know”都可视作填充语(filler words, 正式名:discourse markers),若去掉后,“English is fun to learn." 仍保留原意。

Filler words are words (and phrases) that are used to fill silence when you’re speaking. They’re words that don’t add any real value to the sentence. They simply keep you going while you come up with the rest of your sentence.

Filler words are used for a number of reasons:

  • To show that you’re thinking. (“I have basically… ten more years of college.”)
  • To make a statement less harsh, embarrassing. (Well, you have, um, you have a little something in your teeth.”)
  • To make your statement weaker or stronger. (Actually, I think pugs are cute”)
  • To stall for time. (“Where’s your homework?” Uhh. Umm. Well, you see.. My dog ate it.”)

Filler words are:

well: to think; to stall; to pause.

“Well… fine, you can borrow my car.”

Um/er/uh: when you don’t want to answer

“Umm… I like the yellow dress better!”

Hmm: when you are thinking, deciding something

“Hmm, I like the pink bag but I think I’ll buy the black one instead.”

like: to estimate; when you need a moment to figure out the next word to use. (注意:The word is often overused by young females

“My neighbor has like ten dogs.”

“My friend was like, completely ready to like kick me out of the car if I didn’t stop using the word ‘like’.”

Actually: to tell a truth.

“Actually, pugs are really cute!”

Basically: to summarise.

“Basically, the last Batman movie was seriously exciting!”

Seriously: to strenthen argument.

Literally: to state strong feelings.

“you’re not just laughing you’re literally dying from laughter."

Totally: = completely

Clearly: = something is obviously true

“Clearly you totally didn’t see me, even though I was literally in front of your face.”

You see: to share a fact (the listener doesn’t know)

“I was going to try the app, but you see, I ran out of space on my phone.”

You know: to share a fact (the listener already knows)

“We stayed at that hotel, you know, the one down the street from Times Square.”

I mean: to clarify or emphasise opinion

“I mean, he’s a great guy, I’m just not sure if he’s a good doctor.”

“The cave is two thousand—I mean—twenty thousand years old!”

I guess/I suppose: to hesitate, to be uncertain

“I was going to eat dinner at home, but I guess I can go eat at a restaurant instead.”

Or something: not to be exact

“The cake uses two sticks of butter and ten eggs, or something like that.”

Right/mhm/uh huh: to confirm

“Right, so let’s prepare a list of all the things we’ll need.”



kind of





Presumably he just forgot to send the letter.


He presumably knew it was unnecessary.


sort of (英式); kind of (美式)

I think

maybe, perhaps, probably

We can probably add some more water to the sauce. Is this perhaps one of your first times driving a car?



Can I just ask you a question?