actual / current / present

Actual is very different from current and present.

Current and present refer to things happening now (not in the past or future). Actual refers to things that are true (not things that are false).

  • The current unemployment rate is 8%.
  • This article claims that unemployment is at 5%, but the actual rate is around 8%. = the correct rate
  • Barack Obama is currently the president of the United States.
  • The language spoken in Brazil is actually Portuguese, not Spanish. or “actually” is used to make a correction. Portuguese is the true language spoken in Brazil

    Now, what about current and present? These two words are usually the same. Sometimes, current is used in the sense of “generally now” and present is often used more in the sense of “immediately now, in this place/moment.”

  • My girlfriend currently lives in New York, but she’s in Los Angeles at present.
  • The current situation is good, but the present case is an emergency. or in general the situation is good nowadays, but right now we have an emergency

    At present always means “now.” But there can be some confusion with the word presently, which can mean “now” or “very soon.”

  • He will be here presently.
  • She is presently working on a new project. or She is working on a new project right now.

    You can know which meaning it has by the verbs: if presently is used with “will,” then it means “very soon in the future.” If presently is used with “is/are” or other verbs in the present tense, then it means “now.”