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Using ‘Like’ as a Filler

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction to Fillers
  2. The Prevalence of ‘Like’ as a Filler
  3. Why Do We Use ‘Like’?
  4. How ‘Like’ Affects Communication
  5. Strategies to Reduce the Use of Fillers
  6. Conclusion

Introduction to Fillers

Fillers are words or sounds that we put in our speech to give us time before speaking or moving from one idea to another. Some typical examples include “uh,” “um,” “you know,” and “like.” Using ‘like’ as filler is extremely distracting and has become so common in today’s communications. Concerning communication through formal channels and casual talk alike, comprehending what fillings such as ‘like’ can do is unquestionable.

Using 'Like' as a Filler
Using ‘Like’ as a Filler

The Prevalence of ‘Like’ as a Filler:

Most people especially the young generation have taken up the habit of using like which is now used almost unconsciously thus making it difficult to identify and eradicate. This overuse might at times come across as informal language; nevertheless, its excessive presence may change how conversation partners view us.

Why Do We Use Like?

Several factors contribute to the constant occurrence of ‘like’ as a filler:
Filling being a Placeholder: It provides time while thinking about what is next.

Habit: Once in use, it becomes part of speech pattern.

Media and Peer Pressure: Popular media and peer groups can reinforce this.

Softening Statements: It can make statements sound less assertive and more tentative.

How “Like” Affects Communication

Perception of Authority

If you excessively use “like” as a filler, other people may perceive you differently in terms of your authority and confidence. Overusing it might portray you as uncertain, lacking competence or even unintellectual which is especially harmful in professional and academic setups.


Fillers distract listeners from the intended message they are meant to receive. Listening to someone who overuses “like” could be confusing and may cause lack of concentration among your audience. When listening to a presentation where the presenter uses excessive “like”, one might lose sight of key points amidst fillers for instance.

Strategies to Reduce the Use of Fillers


The first step towards reducing fillers is getting yourself aware of how frequently you employ them. You can identify any problematic areas by recording speech in different situations that would help you detect these issues.


Speak slowly and clearly to make sure that you think before you talk; this prevents the impulse of using words like ‘like’ to fill silence. Engaging in public speaking, joining a debate club, or even practicing with friends can improve your verbal fluency.

Break and Ponder

Instead of filling pauses with the word ‘like,’ learn to embrace them and your communication will be more effective. It gives you time to organize your thoughts and articulate them clearly. Silence is often more powerful than we give it credit for.


Asking colleagues, friends or mentors for constructive criticism may offer very helpful comments on how we use words when speaking. They can point out instances where one does not realize he/she is using fillers.


It is common practice among people to use the word “like” as a filler which seems not important but has an enormous effect on our communication with others. Understanding, exercising, embracing silence and seeking some feedback are great ways that help reduce such kinds of language wastages therefore improving general communication skills.


Are you finding yourself using ‘like’ more often than you should? Share your experiences or tips for reducing fillers in the comments below. Let’s create a community of clear confident communicators! For more ideas about enhancing your talkativeness take time checking our resources on effective