Filler words? How do I explain them? Um..err…I mean…like…actually….

We use them all the time when we’re speaking casually. However, if we want to make our writing crisp and concise, we must cut out words that add unnecessary emphasis and wordiness.

Today I’m going to share with you 10 killer filler words/phrases to avoid:

  1. JUST: This rarely adds meaning to a sentence, unless you are Nike! Just don’t do it! πŸ˜‰
  2. VERY: No one says it better than Mark Twain: Substitute β€œdamn” every time you’re inclined to write β€œvery”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
  3. REALLY: Used when speaking to add emphasis, this rarely translates into written content. Do you really need to use it? No.
  4. LITERALLY: A word that should be banned. It’s most often used incorrectly or needlessly. For example, ‘I was literally crying.’ Doesn’t that mean the same as ‘I was crying.’?
  5. QUITE: Another word that usually adds to the length of the sentence and not to the meaning. For example, ‘He had quite a few drinks that evening.’ could be re-written to read, ‘He had four beers that evening.’ Clearer?
  6. PERHAPS: Β I’m guilty of using this one. It communicates uncertainty and could be done away with.
  7. IN ORDER: Β A redundant filler. For example, ‘She went to the shop in order to buy a present.’
  8. ACTUALLY: Β Can you actually tell me why we need to use this word?
  9. RATHER: This is the same as ‘quite’.
  10. STUFF: Too vague. It often stands for something else. Be specific.



A free write, Β at least 500 words long. Make sure you don’t use any of the filler words mentioned above.

Published by corinnerodrigues

A lover of words. A self-acceptance blogger. A blogging coach. A book reviewer. A woman happily journeying through midlife, moving from self-improvement to self-acceptance and enjoying being herself. Corinne writes at Everyday Gyaan, reviews fiction at and encourages writers and bloggers at Write Tribe and offers offline coaching to writers and bloggers at The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India.

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  1. I will have to write down all these words and post them in front of my face so I can be more aware of using them. πŸ˜€ Thanks for the great info! β™₯

  2. This stuff is really very good and I am literally rather glad I read it. Perhaps in order to understand it quite well I just might actually read it again. πŸ™‚

    Writing my post πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: Just A Smile |
  4. I use half of them all the time… sigh!!! thanks for this post.
    Was waiting for the wednesday prompt the whole day, thankfully the prompt matched the post I wrote yesterday so sharing that πŸ˜€

  5. Silliness aside, one of the tools I have for blogging (LJArchive) allows me to see a word distribution for my blog. I’ve made 3058 posts to my LJ blog and I’ve used those words rather a lot. πŸ™‚

    JUST – 4473
    VERY – 1810
    REALLY – 1622
    LITERALLY – 165
    QUITE – 501
    PERHAPS – 298
    IN ORDER – [NO DATA because this is two words]
    ACTUALLY – 1116
    RATHER – 312
    STUFF – 809

    I’m fairly sure that I mostly use ‘literally’ in the correct sense or making fun of those who use it to mean ‘figuratively.’ I’m equally sure that I most often use ‘quite’ and ‘rather’ in their better usages (not quite there; I’d rather have).

    I have no excuse for ‘actually.’ In an effort to wean myself off it, for several months I used superscripts to number every use of it. It ultimately didn’t work. πŸ™‚

  6. Interesting post esp since I tend to use many of the words πŸ˜‰

    Will give it a shot to write something without the above mentioned words.

    Thanks Corinne!

  7. Oh I am guilty of using most of them. In fact I remember what my English teacher used to say about the redundancy of words like “very” and “really”. But somehow I like these words πŸ™‚ But seriously, this post was a very good reminder (see I did it again!). A good reminder. I will pay more attention to my writing now, except that I may still keep “Perhaps.” Somehow I think a bit of uncertainty helps to keep things more plastic and flexible – at least in terms of the meaning the words are supposed to convey. Especially when the argument being made is subjective. Don’t you think so?