9 Annoying Filler Words You Can Use to Sound More French

Have you ever met someone who says “like” in like every sentence?

Super annoying, right?

Well, here is the bad news: French people use filler words all the time too, like most of us can’t even say a sentence without using a filler word.

And here is the good news: I’m in a good mood today, so I’ve decided to show you how to use 9 common filler words so you can sound more French and annoy the French by giving them a taste of their own medicine.

But before we get started, you have to promise me you’re not going to overuse them, because that’s well, annoying, right?

Okay, allons-y, let’s discover 9 useful French filler words!

1. Euh

Euh…I don’t know what to write actually…

“Euh” is the king of French filler words.

You use it when you don’t know what to say, need some time to think before answering, don’t really want to answer or just aren’t very sure of what you’re saying.

It’s the French equivalent of the English “uh”.

Alors, vous prenez la première à gauche, et ensuite euh, je crois que c’est à droite.
So, you take the first (street) on the left, and then uh, I think it’s on the right.

2. Hein

This filler word is mostly used at the end of sentences to confirm something the same way you would use “right?” or “isn’t it?” in English.

It can also be used alone as a (rude) way to say you didn’t understand what someone said.

Tu seras là ce soir, hein ?
You’ll be here tonight, right?

3. Quoi

Quoi” means “what” and you can use it at the end of sentences to drive people crazy.

No seriously, you can use it to ask questions (c’est quoi ça ?) or put it at the end of a sentence to say “you know” and emphasize what you’re saying as if it was an absolute truth.

Il ne fait pas beau chez moi, c’est la Normandie quoi !
The weather is awful where I live, it’s Normandie you know!

4. Tu sais

Sometimes “quoi” just isn’t enough to irritate people.

Luckily, you can also use “tu sais” (you know).

Just add it at the end of the sentence and let it destroy a perfectly fine sentence.

C’est pas facile tu sais.
It’s not easy you know.

5. Bref

“Bref” literally means “brief” or “short”.

It’s a French filler word you can use to end a conversation you find too long or to summarize something you said.

It’s the equivalent of “anyway”, “basically” or “in short”. You can also say “enfin bref” which basically means the same.

Bref, the best way to understand the use of “bref” is to watch the French TV series Bref.

Did I say “bref” too much?

Oh and don’t worry if you don’t understand anything the guy says in the video, he speaks very fast.

Le film était sympa au début, mais j’ai trouvé le scénario vraiment ennuyant au final. Enfin bref, je te conseille pas d’aller le voir.

The movie was nice at first, but I found the story really boring at the end. Well, anyway, I don’t recommend you to go watch it.

6. Enfin

“Enfin” is the French equivalent of “anyway” or “welll”.

Ton frère est parti ? Oui, enfin je crois.
Did your brother leave? Yes, well, I think.

It can also be used in formal situations. In this case, it means “finally”.

Il a enfin décidé de quitter son travail.
He finally decided to leave his work.

7. Quand même

Quand même” means “even though” or “still” in formal situations . It can also be used to express surprise, both in formal and informal situations.

Mon nouvel appartement fait 120 m2. Ah oui quand même !

My new apartment has a surface of 120 m2. Wow!

8. Bon ben

This is the equivalent of “alright then” or “ok well”. You can use it to end a conversation when you need to go.

Bon ben, à demain alors !
Ok. I will see you tomorrow then!

9. Eh bien

You can use “eh bien” at the beginning of sentences to say “well” or “well, I’m not sure”.

Eh bien justement, j’allais te poser la même question
Well, actually, I was about to ask you the same question

It’s hum time to create your own sentence

Here is a challenge for you now: create a sentence with one of those filler words and post it in the comment section below this article!

Benjamin Houy

Benjamin Houy is a native French speaker and tea drinker with a BA degree in Applied Foreign Languages and a passion for languages. After teaching French and English in South Korea for 7 months as part of a French government program, he created French Together™ to help English speakers learn the 20% of French that truly matters.

65 thoughts on “9 Annoying Filler Words You Can Use to Sound More French”

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  1. J’ai remarqué un autre phénomène qui me rend folle de temps en temps. Quand quelqu’un en France ne peut pas trouver le mot qu’il cherche au milieu d’une phrase,il commence à répéter un court pronom comme “de” ou “du” mille fois (il me semble) jusqu’a ce qu’il se souvienne du mot perdu. Par exemple, ” je voudrais manger du du du du du du pain”. Les franco-canadiens le font aussi.
    Et ils ont une autre tendance de remplacer le mot “puis” avec le mot “pis”.Est-ce qu’on le fait en France aussi?
    Quand j’écoute “pis” sur la radio,c’est difficile de résister à la tentation de crier à la radio la bonne pronunciation!

  2. Eh bien, il est très facile à énerver les Français, tu sais. On n’à qu’utiliser ces mots comme “euh” et “bon ben” et “quoi”, hein?

  3. Une fois, j’ai entendu dit: “ah bah oui hein”. Ça voulait justement dire ah oui, non?

    Et puis, le mot “genre”. C’est genre le mot que j’aime utiliser le plus dans ce monde!!

  4. Mon Mari toujours dit moi que ne pas bon utilizer le mot “umm”, mais le mot “euh” en française sens le meme. C’est vrai?

  5. Eh ben, tu sais, je crois que je vais apprendre ça à mes élèves. Enfin, je crois que ça leur ferait du bien, quoi.

  6. Euh…est bien…Il fait avoir, tu sais, une sense de l’humor…euh…quand je parle Francis, tu sais, mais,,,euh…Ou est la tour Effie? Tu sais, je suis American et mon Francais euh est drole, n’est pas, quoi. Je m’excuse, je suis une de la “Drole des Dames” de le television, vraiment…une de l’originals, tu sais

  7. Eh bien, je pense que l’utilisation de ces mots me fera semblant avoir euh…quelques moins de points de QI tu sais!

  8. Est-ce que tu as vu une vache en faisant ses cours? Eh bien, pas moi aussi, mais quand même j’ai entendu qu’elles n’achetent jamais du boeuf, tu sais. Quelle surprise, hien? Tu n’est pas intéressé, quoi! Bon ben…

  9. Euh … tu sais, enfin, je vais obtenir un cours, quoi? Quand même cette phrase peut-être n’est pas correcte! Bon ben! 🙂

  10. Eh bien, justement, je besoin “30 Day French” parce que j’ai essayé apprendre Français en soixante jours, et, quand même, euh, j’encore ne peux pas bien parle, quoi! En bref, je le besoin!

    • Great sentence Madeline. Just one thing: “I need” is “j’ai besoin”, so you can say “j’ai besoin de 30 Day French”.

  11. Enfin bref, je voudrai un copie de 30 Days French. Parce que, tu sais, j’ai besoin d’apprendre le français tout de suite, hein?

    • Félicitations Denny! I like your sentence, although err… I’ve noticed 4 minor mistakes in your sentence. I’m a person who can’t sit still whenever I see a grammatical error, you know! Anyway, if I were you, I’d write it like this:

      Enfin bref, je voudrais une copie de 30 Day French. Parce que, tu sais, j’ai besoin d’apprendre le français tout de suite, hein ?

      In French, there’s a non breaking space (espace insécable) before ? ! ;
      But you can simply insert a normal space.

      « Je voudrais » means “I would like” and « je voudrai » means “I will like”, non ?

      (I know I’m supposed to write in French, but my French isn’t that good yet, you know.)

      • You’re right. There is indeed a space before “?” in French.

        “Je voudrai” does mean “I will like”. But nobody really uses it.

        • Yes, I’ve read quite a bit about French typographic rules and I’m trying to follow. But I’m still getting used to the ‘flying’ French question mark and the spacey « guillemets ». Interestingly, when I write (not type) in English, I find it more natural to leave a space before “?”, “!”, and “:”, as it makes them stand out more. A non-breaking space (espace insécable) before the above-mentioned punctuation marks is important to make sure that “?” or ”!” doesn’t hang on its own.
          Par exemple :
          “I hate it when this happens
          ! And I still don’t know how to equally insert a non-breaking space in «
          Androïd » (other than copying and pasting of course).”

          Do the French say « non ? » sometimes instead of « n’est-ce pas ? »?

          • Yeah, we use “non” in less formal settings. “N’est-ce pas” is rather formal and you’ll rarely hear it in spoken French.

  12. Eh bien, les tomates sont dégoûtant et vous … Euh aimés à manges ces et euh donc je ne vais pas vous embrasser.

  13. Tu pense que nous sommes des idiots hein? J’ai jamais gagner un jeu comme ca tu sais? c’est toujours les escrocs qui les lancent!


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