12 words that you can probably cut from any speech

Speech writing is an art form that is more difficult than you might think. Often, we unknowingly use filler words, also known as crutch words, in our verbal language that don’t serve any real purpose. 

Most of us realize we should avoid “uh’s” and “ah’s” during our delivery, but there are several other words that seem legitimate but are nothing more than crutch words in disguise. Here are 12 words you can do without whenever you are making a speech.


The word “honestly” takes on many different forms. It can range from “if I’m being honest” to “honestly, I thought I …” We unknowingly use it to emphasize our truthfulness, but is it necessary? In reality, it can make us look like we’re being deceptive or not usually trustworthy.


“Just” can sneak into our speech or writing innocently enough. For example, “I just thought I would go to the store…” or “if you could just call me when you get a moment” are a couple of innocent crutch word instances. By eliminating the word “just,” your speech will become stronger and more concise. 


Another popular filler word, “actually,” doesn’t do much to bolster your statement. Most people use it before they disagree with a comment someone else made.


Similar to the word “just,” “really” rarely has a legitimate purpose. For example, “I really like to…” or “you shouldn’t really plan on…” are phrases where “really” is a crutch word. Feel free to cut “really” out of most speeches without changing the message one bit.


The word “like” definitely has a place if you’re referring to your desire about something or comparing objects. However, using it at the beginning of the sentence as a filler word will quickly bring discredit to your overall message. Examples include, “like, I just want to go to the store” or “I was walking home, and like, I couldn’t remember which street my friend lives on.” 


Using the word “quite” doesn’t add much in the way of conveying a clear message. It can muddy up a sentence or increase the length of your speech for no good reason. For example, “I’m feeling quite mad about what happened,” or “I don’t think I quite understand.” Save yourself some time and cut the “quite” out.

At the end of the day

Usually used as a summarizing statement, “at the end of the day” is nothing more than a space waster. Unfortunately, this irritating empty phrase can become a staple to some people’s communication style, which can irritate listeners.


“That” can quickly find its way into our writing when it serves no purpose. One of the top filler words, “that” does have a place in certain situations, but it can be removed most of the time. For instance, “I like the story that you wrote,” or “do you remember the time that the party was supposed to start?” In each example, you can remove the word “that” without changing the meaning or delivery of the statement.


Using “literally” is often inserted when you’re exaggerating or hoping to be taken seriously. For instance, “I literally thought I was going to cry” or “this is literally the best sandwich I have ever tasted” are situations where you can remove “literally” without issue. 


“Totally” falls in the same category as “really.” However, there are very few times you need to use totally in a sentence. Examples of wasting space with this word are, “I totally thought it was worth it,” or “this is totally the best thing I have ever tried.” 


Even though it may be well-intentioned, using “well” as a gap filler is common for people trying to get away from uh’s and um’s. Using “well” in-between statements is the typical usage that can be cut out of your speech.


“Look” is useful when describing an action, but often it is inserted at the beginning of a statement for emphasis. For example, “Look, what I am telling you is…” or “Look, the best way to…” Using it in this way can come across as defensive or aggressive when addressing another person.

In summary

Many of these words can be used in your speech and serve a distinct purpose. However, if you find youself using these words as a crutch or gap filler, feel free to cut them out of your speech and make your statements more meaningful.