Filler words are small words used in conversation to give the speaker a brief pause and to show that they are not finished speaking yet. They are also used if the speaker needs a moment to think before speaking. Some of the more common English filler words are:
While it would be great if we could eliminate them and appear smarter as we speak, almost everyone uses them while communicating:
While filler words may be considered undesirable, using them when speaking isn’t the worst thing you can do. HOWEVER, using English filler words while speaking Spanish is one of the easiest ways to sound like you don’t speak the language. On the other hand, learning and using Spanish filler words will make you sound much more fluent. Some of the more common filler words in Spanish are:
Este = Um, uh (mostly used at the beginning of sentences)
“Este, no sé, pero creo que sí,” – Umm, I don’t know, but I think so.
Pues = Well, then
“Pues, hay muchas personas aquí.” – Well, there are a lot of people here.
Bueno = Okay, Well, Alright
“Bueno, no hay problema, yo lo puedo hacer.” – Okay, there’s not problem, I can do it.
Como = Like, Um
“Como, ¿qué quieres para comer?” – Like, what do you want to eat?
Entonces = So…, Then
“Entonces, no vayas a la tienda.” – So, don’t go to the store.
O sea = I mean, Or rather
“No tengo hambre, o sea, yo comí mucho esta mañana.” – I am not hungry, I mean, I ate a lot this morning.
Pay attention to when you may be using English filler words when speaking Spanish. Try to eliminate using these words or try to replace them with Spanish filler words. Your communication will improve and you’ll sound much more fluent.