French filler word

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!

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.

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?

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

My new apartment has a surface of 120 m2.

Ah oui quand même !

Wow!

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!

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

Who wants to win a copy of 30 Day French?

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!

I’ll pick my favorite and offer a free copy of my upcoming course 30 Day French to the winner.

P.S: 30 Day French will help you have your first French conversations within.well..30 days.

P.P.S: It will launch on June 23rd.

30 day French course

Published by Benjamin Houy

Bonjour ! Je suis Benjamin Houy, the creator of French Together and author of the Amazon bestseller How to Learn French in a Year. I help English speakers learn French naturally so they can quickly have their first conversation in French. I learned English and German on my own and am now learning Russian.