I had a high school English teacher who counted "ums" "ahs" "likes" "I means" and "you knows" during speeches. Every time we uttered one of these "filler" words, we got points deducted. How, like, unfair! My teacher, along with many others, thought that using these filler words turned off listeners and made speakers sound unprepared, dumb, or anxious (or all of the above). Well, Mrs. Strict Language Nazi can shut it, because a new study has shown that using these words to fill in pauses in conversation really isn't so terrible.