Sorry for the convoluted question but I'm not sure how to ask this. These examples should make it clear what I'm talking about:

"Well, hum... you know."
"It's, huh... there!"
"Hm... now where were we?"

Basically, it's something you say while you're thinking, maybe to let the other party know that you're going to start speaking soon or that you're going to continue with your thought.

My questions is, is there a name for these expressions that I can use so I can talk about them?

  • A meaningless utterance used to pause for time. See also um. Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 19:09

4 Answers 4


This is a type of speech disfluency.

The individual words are usually called fillers or filler words.


The 'Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English' calls them inserts.


They would be considered interjections if you classified them as a part of speech.


In all the textbooks I have had the opportunity to use (especially in textbooks for teaching English as a second/foreign language in High Schools) these are called FILLERS and are defined as words with no specific meaning, but with important role- they fill the time of speaking giving you more time to think about whay you are going to say next or how to say it correctly).

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