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The experiment examines the effects on a number of words that seem irrevelant to semantic communication. The Units of Ritualized Speech (URSs) considered are: ‘I mean’, ‘in fact’, ‘really’, ‘sort of’, ‘well’ and ‘you know’. Two hypotheses are tested: (i) that URS rate will increase with anxiety; and (ii) that the speaker's preferred URS will increase with anxiety. Subjects were interviewed on topics they had previously rated as anxiety-provoking and non-anxiety-provoking. Hypothesis (i) was supported, but hypothesis (ii) was not. More specifically, the use of ‘I mean’ and ‘well’ increases when the speaker is anxious. Explanation for this is sought in the grammatical location of these two units. Sex differences in the use of URSs, correlations between URSs and their relationship to other forms of disfluency are also considered.