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Is there a name for this writing tic/technique (which I find very annoying, by the way):

Please note: these examples are in the form of dialogue which belies the context in which my question was meant to be placed. I've therefore added additional examples at the bottom of this post that are actual writing samples (slightly modified to protect the author's identity) that contain this tic/technique.

“I ate an omelette that was, well, made of eggs.”

“The sun rose and, well, I woke up.”

“These sentences are, well, quite frankly annoying.”

Thank you


edit: as it says in the question, I'm asking about writing, not speaking. Not sure why multiple people are confusing that point.


edit 2:

Examples of what I mean, not in dialogue form:

e.g. Rather than fire back sarcastically at what I find to be unsuccessfully pedantic comments, I choose to, well, accept the input and try to clarify my question.

e.g. I was writing an article yesterday that was, well, about something I wished to discuss!

e.g. This essay which I am writing is, well, a statement of my personal opinions.

  • I'm not sure why you find this annoying. In fiction, you may feel that this is necessary, especially if you are introducing a complex issue that the speaker is trying to convey more simply: Dr Smith said to his patient, "The treatment of Hepatitis C has improved leaps and bounds since we discovered this new medicine that works on the, um, virus's structure. The doctor knows the technical terms but needs to figure out a better way to communicate it. – Stu W Nov 10 '15 at 12:52
  • I think this is on-topic here, but would probably get more in-depth answers at the English site. Would you like me to send it there? – Neil Fein Nov 10 '15 at 17:56
  • @StuW - it's about WRITING not speaking. – Anthony C Nov 12 '15 at 3:54
  • I think people are addressing your question in terms of spoken English for a very good reason: The examples you give are all dialogue, so of course the answers will follow suit. If this is unacceptable to you, then I don't understand what your question is asking. (Yes, the downvote is mine.) – Neil Fein Nov 12 '15 at 15:19
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The technical term is 'filler'. A filler is used to give the speaker time to think. Other fillers include 'er', 'um', 'okay', 'ah' and 'like'.

  • I'm talking about people writing not speaking. – Anthony C Nov 12 '15 at 3:52
  • Well, if you're writing, you can use a filler to, um, simulate natural speech patterns. – Karen Nov 12 '15 at 14:00
  • @Karen yes, indeed! – Anthony C Nov 13 '15 at 0:12
  • Answer accepted as conversation filler, “to give the speaker time to think,” in spoken or written dialogue. The reason I've found fillers annoying is that I find them in analytical texts, where they arguably have no place. – Anthony C Nov 13 '15 at 0:14
  • Unless you're trying to write dialogue these sort of words should be avoided. Children sometimes do it because they don't understand the differences between spoken and written language. – S. Mitchell Nov 13 '15 at 17:16
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Technically, I'd say it's an interjection. In this case, a verbalized pause while the speaker collects their thoughts.

Generally, I'd say avoid it unless you're developing a hesitant or insecure character.

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