Conversation Fillers – Basically, Actually, Uhm, You know?



Today, we are going to learn about Conversation Fillers. These are words like: Basically, Actually, Seriously, Totally, Something like that, At the end of the day, You know? You know what, just grab a cup of coffee, it’s a long episode (Inspired by the recent news about Alexis Sánchez)! Enjoy :)

Episodes mentioned

[167] 4 Phrasal Verbs to Use At Work – Deal With | Fill In | Fill In For | Kick Off
Learn with me



Hey guys, today’s episode, has been inspired by the recent and amazing news about the Chilean football player Alexis Sanchez.

You’ve just tuned in to the English made simple show this is episode number 1-6-8 one hundred and sixty eight, numero sesenta y ocho.

Welcome to the English Made Simple show, my name is Milena from What’s up amigos y amigas??

You know what, I did something on the weekend, something I don’t normally do.

I watched the News on TV.

You know the typical stuff. It starts off with some irrelevant news, then move to boring topics such as Weather and then the Sports.

There it was, the news about Alexis Sánchez and the English Premier League, apparently he signed a contract with Manchester United, he is switching teams, it’s supposed to be like this major news. Then you see shots of Alexis playing with his team mates, training, passing ball etc and I was expecting him to give an interview. This news about Alexis was obviously huge because it made it here in Australia. We rarely get news about soccer on TV…

[expected to hear an interview with Alexis]
Nothing. They didn’t share any words or thoughts from Alexis himself. The news was very brief.

For those of you who don’t know who Alexis Sánchez is, don’t worry I didn’t know about him either until I came to live in Chile.

He is one of the top football players in the world. (Football players or soccer players in the US, Australia)

Ok so no interview from Alexis. So I asked my husband, do you think Alexis can speak English? My husband said I don’t think so….You see, I’ve only heard him give interviews in Spanish.

I’ve decided to check Google so I typed: Does Alexis Sanchez speak English – it seems like a popular search because there were a lot of search results about this. A lot of people have been wondering.

It seems as though he speaks very Basic English. I’ve listened to one short interview on YouTube and was shocked. The interview was done in 2016. I can imagine how difficult it must have been for him to do the interview. It’s not speak to speak in a different language and then have to give interviews in a foreign language.

I have an advice for Alexis: Hey Alexis, if you have a smart phone, simply download English Made Simple podcast onto your phone and start learning English while running around the field kicking ball, scoring goals. That’s just my tip haha

Ok I know he is a great soccer player, he doesn’t have to speak English while playing soccer, so that’s cool.

I don’t want to single out Alexis, there are other sportsmen and sportswomen that are very talented, very good at their craft, very good at what they do but they rarely give interviews in English. Even though they are international stars. I am just puzzled.

[Ok, so today’s show has been inspired by Alexis Sanchez.]

That was my intro to today’s show about Conversation fillers. I call them Conversation fillers, but the proper name would be Discourse Markers.

Remember last time, we learned this word ‘FILL’, we learnt in the last episode. It’s spelled as F I L L. ‘Filled’ past tense. Check out episode number #167 for more details.

So why do we need to know about Conversation Fillers?

For an English learner, Filler Words help you ‘buy time’, they help you stall for time. Basically you will have more time to think of what to say before your next phrase or sentence.

According to Weon Inteligente or the Online Dictionary, filler word or filler phrases are empty words, without real meaning or without adding any significant value to a sentence when you’re speaking. They simply help you to continue with your conversation until you come up with the rest of the sentence.

Since these words don’t provide value in a sentence, you don’t need to use much brain power to think about using them. Simply learn them off by heart and use them while speaking on any topic!

To learn something off by heart means to memorize it, memorize it word by word. I want you to memorize these filler words.

Alrighty, easy peasy so far.

I will give you examples of these words soon. Just bear with me.

Just wanted to mention about some of the cons of the filler words. Well, some of the disadvantages of Filler words would be, if you are using them too often it might make you sound a bit immature, indecisive or nervous.

Now having said this, we just have to be smart about what words we use as Filler words and how often we should use them.

Well, things like ‘Uhm…’ or ‘Uhm… yeah’ they could be considered filler words, they fill those awkward silences or pauses.

I am not here to teach you about ‘Uhms…’ – so saying this one too often will make you sound indecisive, immature or nervous. I use it when I speak English, but I try not to use it too often of course. (I would just sound unprepared.)

Some simple words you can remember are:

Ok. Sure Ok.
Oki doki if you feel very friendly and playful.

Right, let’s move on. Now that that’s been said, let’s move on.

Here are some examples of Conversation Fillers that will help you sound fluent in any conversation with a native speaker:

Filler Word #1 – Adverbs like: Basically, Actually, Seriously, Clearly, Totally

When you use these particular adverbs, they would emphasize the meaning or direction of the statement.

For example:
‘Basically’ – you heard me use this one before in my earlier episodes.

You will hear this one often used in conversations.

Well, basically….

‘Basically’ is used toward the end of a conversation, when you are summarizing something.

Basically, when we play as a team we are more likely to win the game.

So, basically, that explains the word BASICALLY.

‘Actually’ and ‘Seriously’

We use, ACTUALLY, to make a point, to say something is true even though others may not agree with you.

Actually, I think that the word football is a more appropriate name than Soccer to describe the game. [it’s just what I think. And the game is known around the world as Football)

Actually, we use the word ACTUALLY a lot in our conversations.

We also use it to show if we are surprised at something or someone.

My husband actually expected me to be a cook when we got married.

Haha ok that is a bit of an exaggerated example.

The next phrase I want to teach you is:

Filler Word #2 – Or something like that – I use this one a lot too.

We use it when we want to describe something or compare something to something similar.

For example, I feel like eating something sweet like Nutella or ice-cream or something like that.

Yeah, following me so far? Cool bananas. Moving on to the next phrase for today.

Filler Word #3 – At the end of the day – use this when you are about to finish explaining something.

For example, at the end of the day we played as a team and we won.

And the last phrase you need to know is:

Filler Word #4 – you know?

We use this at the end of a sentence, to bring the listener into the conversation. I use this a lot.
I also mix it up a little and say, ‘you know what I mean?’ And the listener would go immediately: Yeah, sure, I know what you mean.

My husband says that a lot. Even though he doesn’t listen to me. Yeah Milena sure, I know what you mean. Whatever!

For example, Conversation fillers are like Linking phrases or something like that, you know what I mean?

And that’s it amigos y amigas, we are approaching the end of the show.

To sum up, today we’ve learnt the following:

1 you don’t have to speak perfect English to play professional football at the Premier League
2 we learnt some Filler words – these things will make you have a fluent conversation, so you can be understood by native speakers.

You can think of Conversation Fillers as linking phrases. Both Conversation Fillers & Linking phrases help you go from one idea to the next.

I encourage you to practice the words you learned today.

So was that useful guys? I hope today’s episode was useful to you. Please share it with your friends and enemies. That would be cool. Thanks.

Before I finish today’s show, I just want to say hello to Lou from Brazil who currently lives in Switzerland, we have Manu from India who is an expert in physics and who wants to learn more professional English, and lastly Paula from Brazil who lives in the US currently. Thanks guys for sharing a little bit about yourselves, and thanks for taking the time to get in touch!

Alrighty, guys, you’ve been an awesome audience as usual, you’ve been jamming with Milena from English Made Simple. Until next time, hasta la proxima!

Milena Vujnic

Milena Vujnic

Podcast Host at English Made Simple Podcast


Milena is the host of the English Made Simple Podcast and is passionate about helping English learners break their fear of speaking English so they can confidently make conversation and be understood by other English-speakers.

Milena lives in Australia with her Chileno husband and loves anything podcasting and online coaching and is honoured to be supporting and guiding immigrants from all over the world with her products, programs and coaching services.

Click here to learn more about how you can work with Milena.


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