Do you know how to define actually? Many of my students (who are Spanish) have trouble with this adverb. How do you use it? What does it really mean?
My student Oscar wanted to talk about it today in class and it made me realize that many of you probably are confused as well.
So today I would like to explore it in depth and make sure that you fully understand how to use it too.
"Actually" is a great adverb, and we can use it in so many different situations to help clarify, add information and express our opinions.
Wait a minute. Do you know what an adverb is? Just in case you don't, an adverb modifies or qualifies the meaning of a verb, adjective, other adverb, clause, and sentence.
So adverbs tell you how you do something, when you did it etc.
Back to actually...how can we define actually so that you know exactly how and when to use it?
Below are 4 ways that we use actually, with examples to show you them in action.
Interesting huh. Not only is it a synonym for really, but it can also be used to correct incorrect information or assumptions and express surprise in relation to what someone says or does.
It is quite easy to define actually, but we should talk about a very common mistake with its usage (for Spanish Speaking students in particular). The issue I am referring to is the confusion between actually and currently.
This confusion is due to what we call a "false friend"; a word that sounds and looks similar in Spanish (or any language) and English but does not mean the same thing.
“Currently” refers to what is happening right now (or close to now).
Getting back to actually…how do we actually use “actually”?
In the sentence above, we could replace actually with really because it is looking for the truth or the true situation.
Another way that we use “actually” is to show that something someone has done is surprising.
It can also be used to correct information when someone is misinformed about a situation.
You say you want to learn English and I am curious, “What are you actually doing to improve your English?”
Leave your comments below and let’s see if you are actually (really) doing enough to improve your English skills.
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