50 Filler Words List to Cut From Your Writing: Make Your Writing Stronger

Do you want to sound more confident and authoritative? Our comprehensive filler words list to cut from your writing will strengthen your work.

Filler words make English writing weak. Writing should be concise and meaningful, especially for online audiences with shorter attention spans. Using too many filler words gives the impression of inexperience, meaning your audience may be hesitant to take you seriously. 

As Magan Vernon once said,

‘I don’t know’ is just a filler word when you don’t want to say what you’re really thinking.”

Choosing the right word for your specific meaning and leaving out any unnecessary words will help you communicate more effectively. The best way to avoid filler phrases and words is to keep a filler words list on hand. 

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of words that you can avoid to keep your writing relevant and convey confidence. 

You may also find our list of common writing mistakes helpful.

What Are Filler Words?

There are two different types of filler words. When it comes to speaking, filler words are sounds such as “umm,” “ahh,” or “uh”, which indicate that a speaker is thinking about what to say next.

When writing, filler words are simply words that carry little meaning, don’t serve a purpose, or can be removed from the sentence without altering the meaning. For example, saying “very good” instead of “excellent.”

Filler words often infiltrate writing based on an individual’s speech patterns or are used to flesh out the content if a writer is struggling to hit a word count. 

What Is An Example Of A Filler Sentence?

First, everyone has to understand the difference between filler words and filler sentences. Many people believe that a bunch of filler words put together equals a filler sentence; however, this is not always the case. 

Filler sentences are sentences that contribute nothing of value. They often state something obvious or reiterate a point that has already been made without sharing anything new. Readers would not lose any context if they were removed from the passage. 

There may be some situations where extra context or details are important. A rule of thumb is if something is not relevant to the needs of your audience, then you should remove it. Below are some examples:

Filler: The results from the study showed that 80% of participants fell asleep sooner and were more well-rested after wearing blue light glasses during the day. Most participants noticed a change after wearing the blue light glasses. While 20% of the participants experienced no change in sleep habits. In conclusion, we can learn a lot from this study.

Better: The results from the study showed that 80% of participants fell asleep sooner and were more well-rested after wearing blue light glasses, but 20% of the participants experienced no change. 

There is no need to state that most participants experienced a change in their sleep habits after wearing the glasses. This information is obvious as the results of the study were shared. Due to the nature of a scientific study, it’s clear the goal is to learn, so the last sentence is unnecessary, too.

Filler Sentences: I find baking relaxing, especially when my whole house smells like cinnamon or chocolate. If I have had a bad day at work, a sweet treat makes me feel so much better. With that said, you won’t get good results from poor baking equipment, as this is a craft that requires precision. So, where do you buy the best tools so you can work your magic in the kitchen? 

Better: By purchasing high-quality baking equipment, you will create perfect treats each time. Let’s learn more about where to get the right tools.

While a personal flair keeps readers engaged, going overboard will confuse them. If you’re trying to sell something or are making an argument, you need to introduce it to readers right away. Otherwise, they won’t know what your article or essay is about. Readers won’t have the patience to wade through several paragraphs to find out what you’re trying to say. 

Here are some tips for removing filler sentences: 

  1. Always have a plan before you start writing.
  2. Keep your introduction short, sweet, and to the point. 
  3. Ask someone to proofread your work. 
  4. Show, don’t tell.

How Do You Identify Filler Words?

The best way to identify filler words initially is to cross out or highlight certain words or phrases in your self-editing process. If your text still makes sense without them, and the meaning hasn’t changed, then those words were filler. This will get you used to identifying filler words that have become habitual in your writing.

Another way to identify filler is to consider if the same statement can be made using fewer words or if two sentences can be combined to provide succinct information. 

Utilising grammar checkers such as Grammarly can help you develop an efficient writing routine, as its Premium features identify filler words and suggest suitable edits. However, such tools should not be permitted to quash your natural and unique writing style merely to improve it.

English Filler Words Printable

Filler words printable

English Filler Words List

Actually, Basically, SeriouslyI Guess or I Suppose
Just For What It’s Worth
VeryI Mean
ReallyYou Know
HighlyLike I Said
TotallyOr Something Like That
SimplyKid of/Sort of
MostAnd Etc.
SomehowDue To
SlightlyEmpty Out
AbsolutelyFor All Intents and Purposes
LiterallyIn Terms Of
Certainly I Think/I Believe
Honestly Of Course
Personally In Order To
QuiteIn Fact
PerhapsIn Conclusion 
SoNot To Mention
CompletelyWhile That’s True/ While It’s True
SomewhatOn The Other Hand
HoweverOk, so
UtterlyWell
At the End of the DayNow
Believe MeAll Of
You Know What I Mean?Still

It’s important to avoid going overboard when deleting filler words. Sounding like a robot won’t keep readers hooked. Strike a balance between creating the right tone and maintaining a unique writing style without making your content unnecessarily long or lacking confidence. 

Below, you’ll find a list of the most commonly used filler words to pay attention to in your writing.

Adverbs

Many filler words are adverbs. Though they make sense in the sentence, they are not needed. Here are some common ones.

1. Actually, Basically, Seriously

These filler words show up when you are making a statement that might have an exception. It is usually unnecessary, as in this example:

  • Filler: Basically, he was saying he loved her, but in a roundabout way. 
  • Better: He was saying he loved her, but in a roundabout way.

2. Just 

“Just” carries little meaning in the sentence. Often, writers use it to sound more polite, but it does not change the sentence. For example:

  • Filler: Could you guys just be quiet for a minute, please?
  • Better: Could you guys be quiet for a minute, please?

3. Very

“Very” is over-used. Writers choose this word to add intensity to their statement, but its overuse makes it filler. Often, choosing a more specific word makes better sense.

  • Filler: The new store was very crowded on opening day.
  • Better: The new store was bustling on opening day.

4. Really

Like “very,” “really” is an over-used English filler word that rarely helps the sentence. For example:

  • Filler: I really want you to come over today.
  • Better: I want you to come over today.

5. Highly

“Highly”, when used as an adverb, is filler in most instances. Instead, a more vivid verb will convey the same meaning with fewer words.

  • Filler: She was highly annoyed at his antics.
  • Better: She was irritated at his antics.

6. Totally

This word means completely or absolutely, but it has been over-used so much that it is often thrown into sentences with no meaning at all. For example:

  • Filler: I totally didn’t understand what you were saying.
  • Better: I didn’t understand what you were saying.

7. Simply

Simply is another word that is not necessary in a sentence. It technically means “in a straightforward or plain manner,” but when used as filler, it does not carry this meaning. For example:

  • Filler: He simply wanted someone to listen to his needs.
  • Better: He wanted someone to listen to his needs.

8. Most

If you find yourself adding the word “most” to other adverbs, you are writing weakly. Keep it concise. For example

  • Filler: He most especially liked cream in his coffee.
  • Better: He especially liked cream in his coffee.

9. Somehow

Somehow is another adverb that has little meaning in the sentence. If you can say the same thing without it, leave it off. For example:

  • Filler: She somehow got her point across in spite of her stutter.
  • Better: She got her point across in spite of her stutter.

10. Slightly

Saying something is “slightly” so makes the sentence boring. Instead, say what you mean. For example:

  • Filler: After days of cloudy weather, the sunshine was slightly blinding.
  • Better: After days of cloudy weather, the sunshine felt blinding.

11. Absolutely

If something is absolutely the case, you should not have to say it. Adding the word “absolutely” simply adds more words, not more meaning. Here is an example:

  • Filler: She absolutely wanted to go but could not make time for it.
  • Better: She wanted to go but could not make time for it.

12. Literally

While “literally” is a synonym for actually, people often use it to exaggerate. For example, saying, “I literally told you a thousand times,” when that’s unlikely to be true.

Even in the correct context, this word is still rarely necessary. Here is an example:

  • Filler: I literally failed all my exams.
  • Better: I failed all my exams.

13. Certainly 

“Certainly” is a word used to illustrate that the speaker believes something to be true or intends to do something. It can be used for emphasis, but you can convey the same point without it.

  • Filler: I can certainly finish the project by tomorrow.
  • Better: I can finish the project by tomorrow.

14. Honestly 

“Honestly” is a way to stress that you are being sincere, but your writing should be strong enough to gain readers’ trust without it. For example:

  • Filler: Honestly, I didn’t enjoy the movie.
  • Better: I didn’t enjoy the movie.

15. Personally 

“Personally” is a term speakers often use for emphasis or to stress that they’re not stating an objective fact. It’s rarely necessary as readers can typically differentiate between opinion and fact. Here’s an example: 

  • Filler: Personally, I prefer the blue design.
  • Better: I prefer the blue design.

16. Quite

“Quite” has a few meanings; it is used to place emphasis, to suggest the speaker is unsure about something or can be used instead of the words “completely” or “fully.” Either way, it makes for weak writing if used without cause. Here is an example:

  • Filler: The test was quite difficult.
  • Better: The test was difficult.

17. Perhaps

“Perhaps” is a word used when speakers are unsure about something. If you want to speak with confidence and authority, only use it when necessary. For example: 

  • Filler: Perhaps we should try a different approach.
  • Better: We should try a different approach.

18. So

“So” is a contraction and an adverb. It can be used for emphasis (“I’m so sad”) or as a more casual way to say “therefore.” Here is another example: 

  • Filler: “So, we decided to postpone the meeting.”
  • Better: “We decided to postpone the meeting.”

19. Completely

“Completely” means in every way and is used as a synonym for totally or for emphasis. You can usually get your point across without it. For example:

  • Filler: “This idea is completely new to me.”
  • Better: “This idea is new to me.”

20. Somewhat

“Somewhat” is a word used to mean to a moderate extent. It has a time and place, but when used unnecessarily, it weakens your writing. For example: 

  • Filler: I’m somewhat tired after the hike.
  • Better: I’m tired after the hike.

21. However

Depending on the context, “however” can be an adverb or a conjunction. It can be used to mean “in spite of” or “on the other hand.” Although it can serve a purpose, it’s easy to overuse. For example: 

  • Filler: However, that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. 
  • Better: That doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. 

22. Utterly

“Utterly” is used to mean to a full extent or completely. It is typically used to place emphasis but should be used sparingly. For example:

  • Filler: I am utterly devastated.
  • Better: I am devastated. 

Filler Phrases

Another common problem in the English language, especially when speaking, is filler phrases. These typically have no meaning but are added while the speaker is thinking about what to say next. Here are some examples.

23. At the End of the Day

Saying “at the end of the day” usually means nothing. It can be left out completely without changing the meaning.

  • Filler: At the end of the day, John believed her story.
  • Better: John believed her story.

24. Believe Me

This is another filler phrase that shows up often in spoken English. The speaker is trying to get the listener’s attention and trust. For example:

  • Filler: Believe me, I would have been happier without the barking dog moving in next door.
  • Better: I would have been happier without the barking dog moving in next door.

25. You Know What I Mean?

This phrase is used in conversation, but in speeches and writing, it is unnecessary. It is a way to get the listener or reader to add their input. For example:

  • Filler: I felt the workload was a bit intense, you know what I mean?
  • Better: I felt the workload was a bit intense.

26. I Guess or I Suppose

Again, this is a conversation discourse marker, but it is not necessary in formal writing or speaking. Here is an example:

  • Filler: I was planning to cook dinner tonight, but I guess we can eat at a restaurant.
  • Better: I was going to cook dinner tonight, but we can eat at a restaurant. 

27. For What It’s Worth

“For what it’s worth” has no meaning in the sentence. Writers usually use this if they aren’t sure about the feelings of their readers. For example:

  • Filler: For what it’s worth, we could start with the upperclassmen for picture day.
  • Better: We could start with the upperclassmen for picture day. 

28. I Mean

This phrase means nothing in the sentence. Hopefully, if you are saying or writing something, you mean it. For example:

  • Filler: I mean, I’m sure she’s a nice lady, but I don’t enjoy her as a teacher.
  • Better: I’m sure she’s a nice lay, but I don’t enjoy her as a teacher.

29. You Know

“You know” is a phrase used to imply the lister or reader already understands or relates to what’s being said. Here is how it is filler in the sentence:

  • Filler: You know, we could just skip dinner and head straight for dessert.
  • Better: We could just skip dinner and head straight for dessert.

30. Like I Said

This phrase can be helpful to pull the listener or reader back to something said previously, but it can also be overdone and turn into filler. For example:

  • Filler: Like I said, you will be getting some new hires in your department next week.
  • Better: You will be getting some new hires in your department next week. 

31. Or Something Like That

If you end a sentence with this, you are adding filler. It means nothing but shows you ran out of things to say and makes your writing or speaking weaker. For example:

  • Filler: He suggested he was hoping for me to take a leadership position or something like that.
  • Better: He suggested he was hoping for me to take a leadership position.

32. Kind of/Sort of

“Kind of” and “sort of” make it sound like the item you are discussing is not actually certain. Leaving off these words makes the writing stronger. For example:

  • Filler: The dinner sort of smelled like tacos.
  • Better: The dinner smelled like tacos.

33. And Etc.

Using “and” with “Etc.” is redundant. You can shorten this by saying “etc.” and leaving off the “and.” For example:

  • Filler: The vet saw all kinds of animals, including dogs, cats, snakes, hamsters, and etc.
  • Better: The vet saw all kinds of animals, including dogs, cats, snakes, hamsters, etc.

34. Due To

The phrase “due to the” is best substituted with a simpler word, like because. Here are some examples:

  • Filler: The game was canceled due to the rain.
  • Better: The game was canceled because it rained.

35. Empty Out

This phrase is redundant. To “empty” something means to remove its items out of it, so you do not need the “out.” For example:

  • Filler: The high school emptied out quickly on the last day of school.
  • Better: The high school emptied quickly on the last day of school.

36. For All Intents and Purposes

“For all intents and purposes” carries no meaning and makes a statement weak. For example:

  • Filler: For all intents and purposes, I can say that you are my favorite person.
  • Better: You are my favorite person.

37. In Terms Of

This is another phrase that is not helpful in the sentence’s meaning. Eliminate it to make the writing stronger. For example:

  • Filler: In terms of salary, it was a good job offer.
  • Better: The job offer had a good salary.

38. I Think/I Believe

Phrases like “I think” or “I believe” have a time and place. They illustrate that you’re stating an opinion and not a fact. The problem is that these phrases make your writing weak and are unnecessary if it’s already apparent that you’re sharing your thoughts. For example:

  • Filler: I think we should invest more in research.
  • Better: We should invest more in research.

39. Of Course

“Of course” can be used to emphasize agreement or to comment on something obvious. It should be avoided unless you must say it; otherwise, your sentences can be too wordy. For example: 

  • Filler: Of course, we’ll need to get management’s approval.
  • Better: We’ll need to get management’s approval.

40. In Order To

“In order to” is a phrase used to highlight the purpose of something or what must be done to achieve that. It’s not needed if the context is clear enough. Take a look at the examples below:

  • Filler: In order to win, we must score more points.
  • Better: To win, we must score more points.

41. In Fact

You will find “in fact” at the start of a sentence when a writer details some data or a statistic. As it should already be clear that you’re stating a fact, you can do without this in most cases. For example: 

  • Filler: In fact, the data shows a significant increase.
  • Better: The data shows a significant increase.

42. In Conclusion 

“In Conclusion” is used to summarize the points made in a text. Not only is this phrase unnecessary, but a concluding sentence may be, too, unless required by a style guide. For example:

  • Filler: In conclusion, the speaker raised some excellent points.
  • Better: The speaker raised excellent points.

43. Not To Mention

“Not to mention” is a phrase used to introduce another piece of information that backs up a point that has already been made. It’s easy to overuse.

  • Filler: Not to mention, the impact this decision will have on the students will be disappointing.
  • Better: The impact this decision will have on the students will be disappointing.

44. While That’s True/ While It’s True

“While that’s true” is a phrase a writer will use to argue against something that was previously shared while still considering the other perspective or facts. Carefully crafted text will allow readers to understand the point being made without using this phrase too often. For example:

  • Filler: While it’s true the trip is expensive, I think the memories are worth the price tag.
  • Better: The trip is expensive, but I think the memories are worth the price tag.

45. On The Other Hand

“On the other hand” is another way to acknowledge a contradictory point or weigh up the pros and cons. If there’s enough content, the phrase isn’t necessary. For example:

  • Filler: I wanted to go to the party, but on the other hand, it was a school night.
  • Better: I wanted to go to the party, but it was a school night.

Other Filler Words

Some filler words that find their way into written text come from speech patterns. While using them makes for casual conversation in real life, it’s unprofessional in formal writing. Here are some examples:

46. Ok, so

This is a pair of filler words that show up in writing because of the way we speak conversationally. You usually find them at the start of the sentence. For example:

  • Filler: OK, so what she was saying is she wanted to go to the concert but couldn’t afford the ticket.
  • Better: She was saying she wanted to go to the concert but couldn’t afford the ticket. 

47. Well

Well can be an adjective or adverb, but it often shows up as filler in a sentence. For example:

  • Filler: Well, he said he wanted to buy a new car, but the sticker price convinced him to choose a used model.
  • Better: He said he wanted to buy a new car, but the sticker price convinced him to choose a used model.

48. Now

Unless you are talking about a time, the word “now” has little meaning in the sentence. For example:

  • Filler: Now, the little child’s pretentious attitude seemed cute.
  • Better: The little child’s pretentious attitude seemed cute.

49. All Of

The phrase “all of” is redundant. You can simply say “all” and leave off the “of.” For example:

  • Filler: She ate all of the cake the next day.
  • Better: She ate all the cake the next day.

50. Still

Writers put “still” at the beginning of a sentence to emphasize a point or in place of words like “however,” but you can do without it in most cases. For example:

  • Filler: Still, we had a good time despite the delay.
  • Better: We had a good time, despite the day.

If you like this type of list, we also created one about transition words.

FAQs on Filler Words

How do you avoid filler words in writing?

When writing, carefully evaluate every sentence to ensure the words have meaning. If there is a shorter or more impactful way to state something, your sentence has filler.

  • Aisling is an Irish journalist and content creator with a BA in Journalism & New Media. She has bylines in OK! Magazine, Metro, The Inquistr, and the Irish Examiner. She loves to read horror and YA. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.

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