How to cut the ‘ums,’ uhs,’ and ‘literallys’ when speaking

Using these filler words when you speak will annoy your listeners and torpedo your credibility. Stop it.

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(Editor’s note: This was one of the top viewed stories of 2014. We’re rerunning it as part of a look back at the articles that captivated our readers the most.)

If there were “Survivor” for words, I’d vote off “literally.”

It’s inserted into sentences for no real reason.

Consider:

I am literally the hungriest person in the world right now.
I am literally going to break this printer in a minute.
The coffee machine is literally the slowest thing on the planet.

Sound familiar? Maybe you even use it that way. You are not alone. Similar to “um” and “uh”, “literally” has become a filler word—tossed into sentences needlessly.

Others include:

Just …
Like…
Actually…
So…
Honestly… (as if you’ve been lying up until now)

What’s your filler word? You probably have one and you just don’t know it.

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