i‑Learner Education Centre

Teacher Diaries

Teacher Diaries: Ms. Rachel – Love Speaking

When it comes to speaking for second language learners, we are often judged by others how well we can speak in terms of fluency and accuracy. Indeed, every English speaker, be it native or foreign, is bound to hesitate at some stages during a conversation. Therefore, I will like to share some tips on how to hesitate like a native English speaker while you speak. Always remember that it’s normal for you to pause a little bit when you are expressing yourself. It might be because you are thinking of a right word to put in, or it’s when you’re asked some question that you can’t give a straightforward answer to so you are thinking how to rephrase your words.

To make the hesitation more natural, use FILLERS! Words like ‘well’, ‘you know’, ‘all right’ , ‘like’ and  ‘you see’ can probably save you from awkward moments of silence. It is also a signal to send to your conversation partner that you’re just thinking instead of not continuing your sentences without reason. Here are some examples of how you can use fillers in your expression:



“You’re half an hour late today, did anything happen?”
“Well… (thinking on whether to reveal the whole truth) I was out last night and simply forgot to set the alarm clock!”

You see/You know…

“Robby, how come you still haven’t finished your work?”
“You see/ You know… (thinking about the arguments to present in order to explain the issue) I am still working on my Arts Project, I will definitely get the work done by tonight!”

All right…

“Jessie said she wouldn’t attend the meeting today, so I’m not sure if there’s any point in having one today.”
“Jessie’s not attending? All right… all right… (accepting the fact and considering the consequences) I guess we have to call the meeting off indeed!”


“Do you know why Jack got into a fight last Saturday?”

“We had a few drinks in a bar, and then he became like… (considering which words would better fit Jack’s description at that time) a completely different person! He started making stupid comments about others and that’s how it all started.”