英会話のコツ:Crutch Words

CRUTCH WORDS: Words that we usually use unconsciously to give ourselves more time to think, or to emphasize a statement. We often fall back on these words when we've lost our footing while speaking and get an uncomfortable feeling.

We all use crutch words because they help us fill the gap in a conversation or speech when we are unsure of how to proceed without having dead silence. They're formed out of habit and become so ingrained in our way of speaking that we often don't even realize we're using them, and that's where it gets dangerous.

Crutch words can weaken the point you are trying to make and also make you look nervous or unsure of yourself.  We can say, "It's a nice day today." but the effect changes when you say, "So, um, it's a nice day today." Be careful about that.

EXAMPLES:

Exclamations

Um:  I went shopping on the weekend, then I, um, watched TV on Sunday night.

Uh:  Uh, I was busy at work this week so, uh, I rested on the weekend.

Ah: Ah, I think I will go home after this lesson.

False starts

And: I went to Umeda. And... I went window shopping.

So: So, what did you do on your last day off?

Okay: Okay, I think I will have ramen after this lesson.

Strange ending

Right?: It was hot today, right?

You know?: It's hard to make a sentence, you know?

Okay: I understand now, okay. But what's next?

"Like" is probably the most commonly used crutch word.

Like: Like, do you want to... like, go and see a movie and... like...

Sometimes using crutch words can make you sound more natural but be careful not to overuse them.

I hope you... um, enjoyed this!

Mahalo!

 

Scott