Can You Start A Sentence With “Well”? Learn It Here! (With Examples)

Starting a sentence with well isn’t something that you’ll find yourself often doing. “Well” is mainly used to talk about someone’s wellbeing, which doesn’t make sense if we throw it in at the start. However, this article will look at when “well” works at the beginning of a sentence.

Can You Start A Sentence With “Well”?

You can start a sentence with “well,” but it’s mainly only used in this way as a filler. Therefore, “well” can only start a sentence when you’re writing the spoken word. There are no times where “well” works at the start of a sentence without being a filler.

Can You Start A Sentence With "Well"?

Just because you have to use “well” as a filler doesn’t mean it’s incorrect. There are plenty of times in writing where filler words are useful to us. Some of the most important include:

  • Creative writing
  • Transcription
  • Quoting in journals

In these cases, it might be beneficial to include filler words like “well” to show people’s hesitancy in answering a question or that they had to think harder before saying something.

“Well” works similarly at the start of a sentence to words like “oh” and “uh.”

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What Does “Well” Mean At The Beginning Of A Sentence?

At the beginning of a sentence, “well” means that we need a little extra time to think before giving an answer. We often say it to show surprise or doubt in our own knowledge, and people can use that against us.

The definition of “well,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “used to introduce something you are going to say, often to show surprise, doubt, slight disagreement, or anger, or to continue a story.”

There are plenty of filler words in English that we might write when we’re trying to show someone is doubtful of something. They’re so prevalent that dictionaries often officially recognize them as filler words (or exclamations).

There are no other times when “well” works at the beginning of a sentence besides a filler or exclamation, making it much easier for you to understand how it might work.

Examples Of How To Use “Well” At The Beginning Of A Sentence

Some examples might help you to understand what we mean by “well” being a filler word. It’s not often you’ll come across a situation where “well” will work for you in your writing unless you consistently write in creative prose.

  1. Well, it would be hard for me to establish a reason for doing this.
  2. Well, I don’t think you quite understand my predicament.
  3. Well, if I could answer that question, I definitely would.
  4. Well, you shouldn’t be here, so if you could just leave, that would be great.
  5. Well, wouldn’t you like to know the answer to that?
  6. Well, would you care for some more wine?
  7. Well? I’m waiting for your answer!
  8. Well, well, well, what have we here?
  9. Well, I must be going now, but it was a pleasure to see you as always.
  10. Well, you’ve got the wrong idea, but I appreciate the sentiment.
  11. Well, you’re not quite as sharp as you think you are then.
  12. Well, if you must know, I wasn’t alone yesterday.

“Well” is a filler word when we start a sentence with it. People say it to give themselves time to think about what comes next. We often write it when we’re trying to recreate the spoken word, which means it’s common to use with speech or quotation marks.

It’s also fairly common for the phrase “well, well, well” to be used. It works in much the same way as one “well” would, but it’s supposed to show disappointment and predictability in whatever happened.

It’s common for old-fashioned police movies and shows to use “well, well, well” as a phrase, especially in the UK. They would use it to show that the policemen aren’t surprised that they caught the criminals in the act, and there isn’t much that the criminal can do to stop it from happening.

In all of the above examples, if we remove “well,” the sentences will still make sense. This shows you what we mean by a filler word, and we’ll reiterate by including one more example:

  • Well, I should probably leave you to it!
  • I should probably leave you to it!

As you can see, “well” is used in the first sentence to show a bit of doubt or evaluation before making the statement. It’s best to avoid using “well” in any capacity like this with formal writing. It works best casually or creatively.

Where Should I Place The Comma When Using “Well” At The Beginning Of A Sentence?

Punctuation can be a challenge when you’re learning new sentence structures and ideas. Luckily, learning to punctuate “well” at the beginning of a sentence couldn’t be easier.

A comma always comes directly after “well” when we use it as a filler at the start of a sentence. That’s because it’s an extra word that adds no meaning to the overall sentence and can easily be dropped as an independent clause.

“Well” is a filler word, making it redundant and useless for most sentences. It still works really well in creative cases or in situations where you want to show someone is doubtful or hesitant, but otherwise, it’s not great to include in your writing.

Since “well” isn’t a necessary clause, we always include a comma straight after it to indicate that it’s removable.

  • Well, if it isn’t my best friend.
  • Well, I can’t say I didn’t tell you so.
  • Well, you must be new here.
  • Well, well, well, what have we here?

Alternatives To Starting A Sentence With “Well”

Finally, some alternatives might help you understand a little more about using “well” as an exclamation. Since it’s a filler word, we’ll only include other filler words as synonyms here to make sure you know what you can replace it with.

  • Oh
  • Uh
  • Um
  • Erm
  • Hm
  • Let me think
  • Err
  • Bear with me
  • Give me a minute
  • Like
  • So

These synonyms all work well at the start of a sentence to give someone a chance to catch up with their thinking.