11 Filler Words to (Literally) Cut From Your Vocabulary

Let’s admit it — we’ve all had moments where we catch ourselves spewing out a bunch of um’s and uh’s like it’s nobody’s business. These verbal ticks are common, and those two words are just the start.

Our friends from Textbooks.com listed out some of the most commonly used filler words and broke down why you should cut them from your vocabulary…Stat!

1. Literally 

You were probably expecting this one, huh? The word “literally” is rarely needed, and the more you say it, the less believable it becomes. This is literally the first filler word you should cross off the list.


2. Ironically

Besides the fact that it’s a filler word, “ironically”  is often misused. Usually  “coincidentally” is the correct term rather than “ironically.” For example: the sentence, “Ironically, I was about to ask Jim the same question.” should really read, “Coincidentally, I was about to ask Jim the same question.”



3. Just 

“Just do it,” may work for Nike — but for you? Cut to the chase and be confident.


4. Truly

Ahh, the empty intensifier rears again. Put “truly” on your no-no list and instead say why you truly feel that way.


5. Very

Emphatic filler words like “very,” “really,” and “totally” tend to feel like a complete exaggeration, which can totally undermine your point.


6. Actually 

Words like “actually” are actually verbal ticks — the equivalent of “like,” “uhh,” and “umm.” Trim the fat from your writing and presentations and get to the point.


7. Basically

Rinse, repeat.



8. Never

In the words of Justin Bieber — “Never say never.” This negative-Nancy word rarely applies and could undermine what you’re saying, either as negative thinking or an exaggeration. Instead, reword your sentence and turn it into a positive.


9. Always

While on a more positive tip, “always” is also often an exaggeration. Never say never’s best friend is “always avoid always.”


10. Amazing

That restaurant is amazing. She’s an amazing teacher. My trip was amazing. We get it – you love it! But your listener has become inured to the meaning. Confession: we use this word more than we should, too. Let’s cut the cord together.


11. I Think

Can you hear your ninth grade English teacher in your ear? Say what you think instead of “I think that.” It works. You’ll come off as more confident and passionate.


Leave a Reply

  1. Lucien J. says:

    I’ve become sensitive to how often people, such as interview subjects, are asked a question and begin their response with, “Well, …”. Once you start hearing it – on TV, the radio, at work – you’ll understand what I mean. May we add that to the list?

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