How To Sound More Fluent in Your English Conversations

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Whether your first language is English or not, there are moments in your conversations when you’re not really sure what to say. So, you need time to think before you continue. Those are times when you use fillers. Fillers are sounds or noises that a person uses when unsure what to say. These sounds fill the gaps of silence. Fillers are common forms of speech dysfluencies. You may wonder what dysfluencies are? These are the interruptions or breaks in the forward flow of speech.  In other words, dysfluencies are irregularities within the flow of what’s supposed to be fluent speech. Other forms of these irregularities are false starts, stammering, or repeated syllables (example, “The di-di-distance..”).

Today we will look at common fillers in the English language that will help you sound more fluent. You can use these filters instead of letting silence take over.

A. Noises : Ahh, Umm, Mmmm

For example, the lady at the ice cream shop asks you what flavor you want, and you’re not sure what to choose. So, the lady goes on telling you about their different flavors, like butter fudge almond, strawberry, coconut chip, and cherry vanilla. At this point, you can say “Ahh,” “Umm,” or “Mmm” to give the lady an idea that you are thinking.  And then you go, “Umm, I’d like coconut chip, please.”

B. When you’re making a point. The following expressions will give you more time to think clearly before you offer your explanation. These expressions also introduce your opinion, and they are indicators that you want to make a point.

Well

The thing is

It’s like this, you see

You know

I mean

You see

For example, you are booking a train ticket. So, the ticket man says, “That’s $26.25 for you.” And you can say, “You know, that’s too expensive for me. It’s like this, you see. I only have $38. and I still have to eat on the way.” The ticket man can then tell you, “Actually, $26.25 is for the first-class seat. If you like, I can put you on the second class seat, and that’s $20.30 for you.”

C. If you don’t know the answer. These are expressions that you use when you are not sure about certain information.

Let me see

Now let me think

Just a minute

Hang on

I’m not sure about that

Maybe

That’s a really interesting question

For example, you’re buying a pair of boots. And the ones you like are a bit expensive. But the sales lady would say, “You can actually get those boots for half its price. If you buy this fashion bag, then you can get the boots for half its original price.” If you still don’t understand the whole deal, you can say,

Mmm. Let me see. Get the boots for half its price? Maybe you can explain more.”

Umm, I’m not sure about that. But, that might be a good idea. Could you tell me more about how it is?”

Well, …Hold on. How is that going to work? Can you explain more how I can save up on getting both the bag and the boots?”

Now, about the last phrase, “That’s a really interesting question…” you don’t normally use this expression in casual daily conversations. You use this in more formal settings, like when you are talking to somebody in the office or when you are discussing a theory or idea in school.

These fillers will help you sound more fluent because you won’t look like you’re lost in your thoughts. It helps you continue with what you want to say without allowing long silence to get in between what you’re saying.  Try the English lessons at LingualBox, and your teacher will help you learn more about fillers and other expressions.


author
I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.