This question is a follow-up to a recently-asked question: What are the French “language buffer” words (aka “filler words”)?

Speaking from my own experience, after spending an adequate amount of time with French, I've started to naturally incorporate fillers into my speech when I'm in an informal setting.

However, I also know that in an academic setting (regardless of the language), it's often taught that one should avoid fillers. For example, in public speaking courses, professors constantly harp on students who say "um", sometimes if they say it just a handful of times in a speech.

With that taken into consideration, I recognize that there are different registers of speech, and not everything is a formal speech in a classroom or in front of a public audience. Fillers are an inevitable and accepted aspect of language in certain settings.

My question then is this: should learners of French push themselves (to a point) to use more filler words (I get that this could easily become excessive) in order to sound more like a native speaker or should this be left to happen naturally?

  • 2
    Accent is far more important than filler words to sound more like a native speaker ;)
    – Stéphane
    Commented Sep 6, 2016 at 21:25
  • 1
    If I think about myself trying to speak like an American, and how ridiculous I can be, I'd say avoid pushing yourself and wait for it to come naturally.
    – Destal
    Commented Sep 7, 2016 at 8:23
  • @Stéphane, but filler words are far more important than accent to sound more like a fluent speaker.
    – mouviciel
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 8:53
  • I suggest you watch some French movies or TV series and pay attention to how the characters speak. You can ape them. They are using real speech. And I am not sure if you really mean filler words or words like interjections, and other common spoken speech markers.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 19:55

2 Answers 2


I think that you should better try to speak using correct words and with a good accent than trying to add "filler" words.

Those words will naturally come when speaking more and more with native french speakers.

If you push yourself to do it you may abuse of them and use them wrongly. If you use random words, native speakers will find it very strange (or funny) and the meaning of the sentence can be completely different. Don't take the risk if your are a learner

I hope it helps you given that it is only my opinion


Moreover, french speaking people do not use filler words as english speaking do. You'd far better learn "connecteurs"

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