“WELL…” – the Simplest English Hesitation Word!

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

Improve Spoken English


Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony Video Blog!

In this video, I’m going to give you the simplest hesitation filler phrase possible, and here it is:


It’s just a word – “well.”

And that’s how you can begin sentences when you have to buy some time and when you can’t really answer immediately.

So, basically, a person asks you a question and then you begin your response with saying: “Well…” which buys you a few seconds during which you can actually think about the matter at hand and come up with a reasonable response.

Whereas, if you’re not saying anything, there’s a bigger chance that you’ll just get stuck for words.

Imagine someone stopping you on the side of the road and asking you for directions to the local police station for example. If you just go like this, “Uh, Uh,” it’s very easy to get stuck for words. But, if you open your mouth and just say this simple word “well…” it kind of opens up your mouth and forces you to say something extra.

And even though those extra bits that you’re going to say may come out with a few mistakes, you know, they may come out a big erroneous, it doesn’t matter because at the very least you would have said something, right?

The word “well” gives you something to say, and it instantly makes you sound like a native English speaker, and do you want to know why? For the simple reason that all native English speakers use the word “well” to hesitate!

Biggest Mistake Made By Foreign English Speakers

And I’ve noticed this phenomenon time and time again – foreigners don’t use these simple hesitation phrases or words in this instance, right? “Well” is not really a phrase. It’s just a word, right? And it’s very simple to use! Just learn it – “Well, well, well, well.” What’s simpler than that, right?

But, so many foreigners just don’t use it ❗

They either don’t say nothing – don’t say anything, right? Or, they actually run the risk of sticking in some word from their native languages, which makes you sound much worse, right?

I have actually heard people using some word which serves the same function as the word, “well,” in English. Basically, I’ve heard them use an equivalent word in their native language when speaking in English. And it goes without saying it sounds just terrible, right?

Obviously, if you made that kind of mistake, you don’t have to beat yourself over that and you don’t have to tell yourself – “Listen, I’m a totally useless English speaker…” because I’ve been going on about this a million times. If you make a mistake, that’s fine, even if you say something in your native language, which has happened to me on many occasions.

And, as a matter of fact, even recently I was talking to someone and then a Latvian word just crept in to my English speech for some reason or another. It was just a glitch in my brain, right?

And it does happen to us and it’s no big deal.

And all I’m saying is – if you stick to using the simple word “well,” as a way of starting your sentences, especially if you have to think about what to say, you can sound like a native English speaker and you’re not going to say any word in your native language just because you’re going to make it your habit to say the word “well” as a standard. Basically, that’s your default response.

So, here’s a take home lesson for you guys today.

Just use the simple word “well” to start your sentences with ❗

And here’s an example. Imagine – and this is something I’m going to brainstorm on the spot basically. This is not something I would have thought about previously. All I’m going to say now is going to be improvised 100%.

I imagine myself walking along the road, and a car pulling up, and a stranger sticking his head out and asking me “Can you tell me how to get to the local Tesco?” Tesco is a chain, a retail chain in England and in Ireland, right? Ireland is where I live.

Then, I would tell them “Well, you got to keep going straight until you hit the traffic lights, and then take the right turn, and you’re going to see Tesco a couple of hundred yards down that road.” Okay?

And here’s how I started my response. I said, “Well…” while I was actually thinking about what exactly I had to say, right? And, even if I wouldn’t have to think about it, even if I didn’t have to spend a split second thinking about what I was going to say, I would still say the word “well” just as a way of starting my sentence. Right?

Just Make It Your Habit to Use “Well” As a Default Response!

And, believe me my friends, if you make it your habit to start your responses, especially when someone asks you a question, right, start them with “Well…” – if you make it your habit, your English is going to experience a very considerable improvement indeed.

It may seem like no big deal. What’s one little word? How could I possibly improve my English just by using one little word? But, believe me, it works. It works my friends, right? 😉

So, that’s about it for today. I’m going to stop recording this video. And, if you have any further questions in relation to this simple technique of opening your sentences, or if you have any questions in relation to English fluency improvement in general, don’t hesitate to publish them in the comments section below this video. Right?

Okay, thanks for watching and bye-bye!


P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • Hi Anubhav,

    As a matter of fact, the “um” sound is another useful filler sound – here you can read/watch more about it: http://accentadventure.com/and-um/



  • Anubhav

    Hi Robby,
    Well…., it’s been quite some time since touched on your blog since i
    was quite busy preparing for my boards.Nice blog .

    But frankly speaking ,i often use ummm… which sometimes gives a bit
    impression but since you know when something becomes your second nature
    ,you just can’t help it.Well,then too i will try to make it a part of
    my vocabulary ,i was actually looking through your previous blogs which i
    left in the course of time.