actual(ly)

  • Actual means ‘real’; actually means ‘really’ or ‘in fact’.
    We often use them to correct mistakes and misunderstandings, or when we say something unexpected or surprising.
      The book says he was 47 when he died, but his actual age was 43. ‘Hello, John. Nice to see you again.’ Actually, my name’s Andy.’
      ‘Do you like opera?’ ‘Yes, I do.’ Actually, I’ve got two tickets . . . ‘ She was so angry that she actually tore up the letter.

  • Note that actual and actually are ‘false friends’ for people who speak European languages. They do not mean the same as, for example, actuel(lement), aktuell, attuale/attualmente. To express these ideas, we say present, current, up to date; at this moment, now, at present.
      What’s our current financial position?
      A hundred years ago, the population of London was higher than it is now.(NOT…higher than it actually is.)