Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Today we’ll discuss formal fillers for IELTS Speaking Part 3.

You may be aware of the idea of informal fillers that native speakers use, such as well, so, you know, and the ever-popular like.

Everyone has to use fillers when they speak. It is part of how we cope with spontaneous communication.

These are appropriate in IELTS Speaking Part 1 and Part 2, but can you use them in Speaking Part 3?



Sometimes, yes! In formal, academic speaking, native speakers might use a couple of informal fillers, but there are others you should employ in this situation.

So, what is the most native and natural formal filler?

A pause.


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In formal speaking, it is common, acceptable, appropriate and natural to pause while you form your thoughts. Natives do this all the time.  An example is seen in the video.

In fact, pausing is much better than saying uh or um.

When introducing your answer, remember to use phrases such as, “That’s a tough one. I’ve never thought about that before,” to buy time to think.

Then, between your ideas, use words such as:

I guess

I suppose

I would imagine that…



Write down the phrases used today.

Then, watch the video a few times and mimic my intonation and emphasis for the phrases.

And, finally, practice filling your answers with these, instead of saying uh and um in Speaking Part 3!

What do you think of today’s advice?

Leave us a note in the comments section below!

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