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Thread: using actually

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    #1

    using actually

    Hello.

    Do we say "actually" only when we are trying to correct someone/something?

    Is it wrong to use it like that as just a way to start speaking?

    -Where do you come from? -Actually, I come from Ireland.

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    #2

    Re: using actually

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post

    -Where do you come from? -Actually, I come from Ireland.
    'Actually' is meaningless there. There is no point in using it.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 30-Oct-2020 at 16:05. Reason: Fixed typo
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  3. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: using actually

    It's one of the most overused words in the English language. As for your example, there is no reason for it to be there.

    (Cross posted.)
    Not a professional teacher

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    #4

    Re: using actually

    Quote Originally Posted by Tarheel View Post
    It's one of the most overused words in the English language. As for your example, there is no reason for it to be there.

    (Cross posted.)
    True, but unfortunately it has recently become replaced by "literally" in everyday conversation.

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    #5

    Re: using actually

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post
    Hello.

    Do we say "actually" only when we are trying to correct someone/something?

    Is it wrong to use it like that as just a way to start speaking?

    -Where do you come from? -Actually, I come from Ireland.
    Use actually to correct a misconception:

    - You: You were born in Scotland, weren't you?
    - Me: No, but I grew up there. Actually, I was born in Ireland.

    In most other contexts, it's a good word to avoid. The problem with actually, frankly, honestly, and to tell the truth is that you're implying that, until then, you'd been lying.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #6

    Re: using actually

    A very common use of actually is to give information that may be considered contrary to expectation. That's not quite the same thing as 'correcting' information.

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    #7

    Re: using actually

    Funny example of actually:

    (0.28-0.30)


    She obviously wanted to say 'Actually, that's not true', but just couldn't.
    Not a teacher or native speaker

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    #8

    Re: using actually

    Quote Originally Posted by alpacinoutd View Post

    Do we say "actually" only when we are trying to correct someone/something?

    NOT A TEACHER

    One source says that sometimes the word is used as a "filler" in conversation. That is to say, it gives "the speaker a moment in which to think."

    Here are two examples from my source: (1) "Actually, the people who truly are Mrs. Lieberman's dearest friends are a great deal like her." (Americans, the source claims, usually use this filler at the beginning of a sentence.) (2) "... he didn't fall about laughing, he helped me a lot actually." (The end position, the source claims, is usually favored by British speakers.)

    Webster's Dictionary of English Usage (1989), page 24.

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    #9

    Re: using actually

    The source does not give enough context to be able to tell whether actually is used as a 'contrary-to-expectation' marker or as a filler in the first. In the second, (ignoring the comma splice), actually appears to have the 'contrary-to-expectation' idea.
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