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This paper focuses on some pragmatic expressions that are characteristic of informal spoken English, their possible equivalents in some other languages, and their use by EFL learners from different backgrounds. These expressions, called general extenders (e.g. and stuff, or something), are shown to be different from discourse markers and to exhibit variation in form, function and distribution across varieties of English, as well as in other languages. In EFL contexts, students are reported to use fewer pragmatic expressions and a smaller range of possible forms. They also tend to favor expressions more often associated with writing and formal speaking (e.g. and so on), include literal translation equivalents from their first language that are not used in English (e.g. and, and, and), or used only in restricted contexts (e.g. or so), and often seem not to realize that some forms may carry negative connotations (e.g. and blah, blah, blah). The possibility of fostering better pragmatic awareness among EFL students is discussed in terms of an explicit cross-linguistic focus on the forms and functions of pragmatic expressions.