Use of filler words: nonsense or necessity?
Only a few monopolies remain today. There are already other providers on the market for every product, every service and every idea. Globalization makes it easy to lose your potential customers to companies from all over the world. If you want to assert yourself against the competition, you have to provide useful, entertaining and informative content for your target group.
But not every content is always well received. In addition to addressing the wrong target group, etc., this is often due to the way texts are written. Writings of all kinds can, for example, suffer significantly from filler words.
If you research this topic, you will quickly notice that filler words are usually not highly valued. Instead, the small gap fillers always get their fat away without exception.
But are filler words as useless as everyone says? Do filler words only inflate the article meaninglessly or do they also have a function? Are you nonsense or need?
In this article, you will read what filler words are, why people use them at all, how you can easily recognize them, and why they may be able to enhance your texts. Also, I will give you some tips on how to create good passages in the end.
Definition of “filler words”: What does that mean exactly?
Filling words – also known as flick words or phrases – are words “with little meaning” according to Duden. That means: The sentence can do without the additional name because the meaning remains the same.
Filler words are often used in the spoken language and are intended to soften and loosen the actual meaning of the spoken word. Written words, however, are not welcome in written form, because they are considered to be impure.
This is how you recognize noise words
Before you can optimize your text style, you should be able to see which terms are considered filler words. As a rule, they are easy to name. Noise words do not in themselves form a grammatical category. They can consist of several parts of speech and are either idiomatic expressions, adverbs or modal particles.
- According to Wikipedia, idioms are “a fixed combination of several words”, which together have a different meaning than the words in detail. Sayings are rhetorical stylistic devices and are often used in the spoken word.
- We use adverbs to describe actions in more detail. Adverbs – as the name suggests – often refer to verbs. Through them, we gain a striking impression of the place, time, reason and manner of the described.
- Modal particles are the essence of filler words because modal particles are mainly used in the spoken language and express feelings and the mood of the speaker.
The real importance of filler words
Despite the general opinion that filler words are bad for the quality of the text, they often also appear in written form. Because filler words help to accentuate the meaning of the document and to strike the right note. In the following, I give you some examples, in which the formulations with flick words enhance the sentence:
“Smoking in the building is expressly not allowed.”
“Smoking is not allowed in the building.”
→ The phrase in this wording underlines the ban on smoking in the building.
“The suspect’s statement is, in principle, true.”
“The suspect’s statement is true.”
→ Without the filler word “in principle”, the statement is bought without any doubt, although there is mistrust here.
“The Ministry of Health advises not to leave the apartment. An infection could otherwise take place. “
“The Ministry of Health advises not to leave the apartment. You could be infected.”
→ The filler word “otherwise” clarifies the consequences that follow if advice is not supported.
Filler words for tonalities of individual target groups
Filler words are, therefore, a component that should not be underestimated – they are also justified in the tonality of different target groups. Depending on how your target group is composed, you should adjust the words you use.
If the target persons are hip, natural and sustainable private individuals between the ages of 18 and 35, a natural approach in combination with filler words makes sense. For an upscale target group that values objectivity, filler words are not necessarily the best choice.
Noise words in different content formats
But not only the tonality can favour the use of filler words. The content format also plays a role when using phrases. Podcasts use filler words more than in a classic blog article. The spoken language sometimes lives from filler words that help to give the speaker character.
So think in advance which content format you choose, which target group you want to address and in which language you best meet them.
Are there harmful and positive filler words?
Accordingly, you should plan for the use of filler words or not. You are asking yourself the question: Which filler words can I use? Are there harmful and positive filler words?
I can tell you with certainty that the filler words “yes”, “stop” or “just” rarely appear positively in the sentence. These filler words are only used in the spoken word and should ideally not appear in your text.
Filling Words: Nonsense or Necessary?
You can see from my examples: The noise bullying is entirely unjustified to this extent because filler words are incessant for lively texts. Thanks to their flexible and varied use, you can easily connect individual sentences and thus enable a perfect reading flow.
Also, they accentuate – even if only to a small extent – the message of the text and strike the right note for your target group. Therefore, they are not nonsense in the proper context, but rather a necessity for documents.
However, too much emotion and liveliness are out of place for very formal texts in long-established companies, in traditional industries or even in bus-oriented, conservative and older target groups. Here you should mostly avoid filler words. These texts can be fact-based reports, study papers for the university or articles from the financial sector.
Five tips for a successful text creation
Now you know how to recognize filler words. However, good text involves more than the correct use of filler words. Here I give you five tips on how you, as an author, can write a readable text or what you should pay attention to when accepting the version:
1. Use filler words appropriately
Even if filler words do not contribute much to the meaning of the text, they are essential for a good flow of reading. However, they can also inflate your wording and lengthen the sentence unnecessarily.
So when writing your text, make sure to use the right filler words in the right places in the right amount. It is best to reread the text afterwards and make the necessary adjustments by deleting unnecessary nicknames.
2. Select direct address
A direct address contributes to an activating text. As a result, the reader feels more picked up and can more easily establish a connection to your content and consequently also to you. This way, loyal customer relationships can be created faster and easier.
So when you write, keep reminding yourself to avoid passive wordings and the “man” form of address and to address the reader directly. Of course, when sending, you should also pay attention to the desired tonality of the company and differentiate between you, you and your address.
3. Address the respective target group
Always keep the customer journey in mind when optimizing text and when creating text. For which target group should the content be written? Where is the target group addressed in the funnel? Are the readers new customers or existing customers?
Accordingly, the text must be formulated and structured differently. New customers and existing customers of a company are two completely different target groups, both of which subsequently have to be addressed separately. While existing customers are familiar with the topics covered, you have to introduce new customers to content that requires explanation.
4. Follow the red thread
The common thread in an article is immensely talented. Otherwise, you run the risk that the material is too confusing for the readers. In the end, they were not picked up and could not add any value from the text. The consequence of this is most likely a high bounce rate of users who will certainly not come back.
At the beginning of your text creation process, think about how you want to structure the article. A sensible heading structure with a single H1, several H2 headings and possibly also a few H3 lines contributes enormously to a common thread and supports the much-used scanning of content these days. A structured text includes an introduction, the central part and a conclusion. The conclusion should never be missing, and in the introduction, you shouldn’t fall into the house with the door. Make sure that you have inserted all components of a text.
5. Use multimedia content
Make your content varied. Because a text desert kills every user. In contrast to diploma theses and treatises, the reader should like to follow your content. Wanting, not have to, is the keyword here! Text deserts are instead a hindrance.
Therefore, do not only rely on the written word but if possible, additionally include pictures, videos, podcasts and tables in your content pieces. In this way, several senses of the user are addressed. In this way, you offer your target group a holistic experience and increase the user experience.
6. My bonus tip: take the necessary help!
There are a lot of tools that can help you with text creation and text verification. In addition to Termlabs.io, which checks the article for keywords, and the LanguageTool, which marks spelling and grammatical errors, we also use the premium version of Grammarly.
As a result, you know directly which aspects you still have to optimize in the text, and you can specifically address the improvement. Of course, there is also a free version of Grammarly, but there are a few restrictions.
Give it a try. Maybe the tool will help you to improve your text.
⚠ But beware: These tools do not replace the human mind! Consider for yourself whether you want to follow the recommendations or not. Because the optimizations are not always justified.
Filler words convey emotion and liveliness
Regardless of whether you text yourself or instruct the copywriter: You now know when you should include filler words in the texts. Namely, as soon as you want to arouse emotions in the reader.
Noise words can make the difference between a boring text style and excellent text quality. It is therefore not bad at all to include noise words in his formulations now and then.
It is only essential to take the right measure! In the end, read your text through again and delete all filler words that are not necessary, but keep the words that make the next round and legible. Because the feeling that everything fits and the article are in the flow creates a good text. And this can only be achieved if filler words are part of the text.