English For Seniors

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English For Seniors
 Fluency is the ability to speak smoothly, continuously and at an effective speed. You don't always have to stop to think of the right word. In this course we learn how to effectively use 'fillers' when you speak and how using synonyms, opposites and related vocabulary gives continuity to your speech.  Fluency is speaking at a natural pace without hesitating too much.  But fluency doesn’t mean speaking quickly.  Sometimes, speaking too fast can make it harder to be understood.  Another aspect of fluency is the smoothness of your speech.  This means that you don’t always stop to try to think of the right word. What Are Filler Words? Filler words are words (and phrases) that are used to fill silence when you’re speaking. They’re words that don’t add any real value to the sentence. They simply keep you going while you come up with the rest of your sentence. Their actual name is “discourse markers,” but they’re much more commonly known as “filler words.” You might already use filler words without realizing it. When you can’t think of the right word to use in a sentence, you might say “umm.” This gives you a break while you think, without an awkward, silent pause. Since filler words don’t really add any meaning to the sentence, you don’t need to think about using them. This leaves your brain free to think of other things—like the word you’re trying to remember. When Are Filler Words Used in English? You only need to use filler words when you’re speaking out loud. Generally, you won’t use fillers when you’re writing. When you’re speaking out loud, though, you might need some extra time to figure out what to say. That’s when you can use filler words. Sometimes people use certain filler words (“like,” “literally” or “believe me”) when they’re writing online in website comments, chats, or social media. This is fine too since conversations online are very similar to spoken conversations. 15+ Common English Filler Words You Should Know 1. Well “Well” can be used in a few different ways. You can use it to show what you’re thinking. “Well, I guess $20 is a good price for a pair of jeans.” You can also use it to put a pause in a sentence. “The apples and cinnamon go together like, well, apples and cinnamon.” You can even use the word to stall. “Well… fine, you can borrow my car.” 2. Um/er/uh “Um,” “er” and “uh” are mostly used for hesitation, such as when you don’t know the answer or don’t want to answer. “Um, er, I uh thought the project was due tomorrow, not today.” You can use any of the words at any time—they don’t all have to go together. “Umm… I like the yellow dress better!” 3. Hmm “Hmm” is a thoughtful sound, and it shows that you’re thinking of trying to decide something. “Hmm, I like the pink bag but I think I’ll buy the black one instead.” 4. Like “Like” is sometimes used to mean something that is not exact. “My neighbor has like ten dogs.” In the above example, the neighbor probably doesn’t have exactly ten dogs. Rather, the neighbor has a lot of dogs. Usually, though, the word is used when you need a moment to figure out the next word to use. “My friend was like, completely ready to like kick me out of the car if I didn’t stop using the word ‘like’.” Keep in mind that the word “like” as a filler is seen as a negative thing. The word is often overused by young females and can make you sound like you’re not sure what you’re talking about. 5. Actually/Basically/Seriously “Actually,” “basically” and “seriously” are all adverbs—words that describe actions. Many adverbs (though not all of them) have an “-ly” at the end of the word, which makes it easier to recognize them. All these words can be used as fillers which change the strength of a statement. For example, the word “actually” is used to point out something you think is true, when others might not agree: “Actually, pugs are really cute!” “Basically” and “seriously” change the sentence in slightly different ways too. “Basically” is used when you’re summarizing something, and “seriously” is used to show how strongly you take the statement. “Basically, the last Batman movie was seriously exciting!” Other adverbs that are often used as fillers are “totally,” “literally” and “clearly.” • The word “literally” means “something that is true,” but many times in conversation it’s used with a different meaning: to state strong feelings. For example, you’re not just laughing you’re literally dying from laughter. • “Totally” means “completely,” and is used to emphasize (show that you feel strongly) about something. • The word “clearly” means the same as obviously, and is used to state something that is very obviously true. These three words don’t have to be used together either, but here they are in one sentence: “Clearly you totally didn’t see me, even though I was literally in front of your face.” 6. You see “You see” is used to share a fact that you assume the listener doesn’t know. “I was going to try the app, but you see, I ran out of space on my phone.” 7. You know “You know” is used to share something that you assume the listener already knows. “We stayed at that hotel, you know, the one down the street from Times Square.” It can also be used instead of an explanation, in cases where we feel the listener just understands what you mean. “When the elevator went down, I got that weird feeling in my ears, you know?” 8. I mean “I mean” is used to clarify or emphasize how you feel about something. “I mean, he’s a great guy, I’m just not sure if he’s a good doctor.” It’s also used to make corrections when you misspeak. “The duck and the tiger were awesome but scary. I mean, the tiger was scary, not the duck.” “The cave is two thousand—I mean—twenty thousand years old!” 9. You know what I mean? “You know what I mean?” is used to make sure the listener is following what you’re saying. “I really like that girl, you know what I mean?” 10. At the end of the day “At the end of the day” is a phrase that means “in the end” or “in conclusion.” “At the end of the day, we’re all just humans, and we all make mistakes.” 11. Believe me “Believe me” is a way of asking your listener to trust what you’re saying. “Believe me, I didn’t want this tiny house, but it was the only one I could afford.” It’s also used to emphasize what you’re about to say. “Believe me, this is the cheapest, tiniest house ever!” 12. I guess/I suppose “I guess” and “I suppose” are used to show that you’re hesitant, or not really sure about what you’re saying. “I was going to eat dinner at home, but I guess I can go eat at a restaurant instead.” “I guess” is used more often in speech, but “I suppose” can sound classier (a bit smarter). 13. Or something “Or something” is a sentence ending that means you’re not being exact. “The cake uses two sticks of butter and ten eggs or something like that.” 14. Okay/so “Okay” and “so” are usually used to start sentences, and can be a sign that a new topic is starting. “So what are you doing next weekend?” They can also be used to introduce a summary. “Okay, so we’re going to need to buy supplies for our trip this weekend.” 15. Right/mhm/uh-huh “Right,” “mhm” and “uh-huh” are all affirmative responses—they all mean a “yes” response. “Right, so let’s prepare a list of all the things we’ll need.” “Uh-huh, that’s exactly what he told me too.” Right, so you should be an expert on filler words by now! Some of these words and phrases can be hard to use correctly, since the meaning is so subtle and slight. Master the use of filler words and you will be sounding like a native speaker in literally no time.

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