James Thurber on Fillers


James Thurber on Fillers There is nothing more vacuous in the context of spoken English than fillers – sounds and words that take the place of pauses and, if repeated often enough, are tantamount to vocal tics. "Uh" and "um" have as much meaning as the clearing of one's throat and can therefore be ignored with some success, but when otherwise serviceable words such as "like" and "so" are repeatedly employed as fillers, they are downright distracting, while reflecting poorly on the speaker's verbal fluency. On December 31, 1960, the great American humorist, James Thurber, writing in The New Yorker, took aim [...]