Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Michelle Kaplan
"The New York Radio Girl"

Today you’ll learn about the word “actually” and how it can be one of the most dynamic words in the English language.

Also you’ll find out how this word can be a false friend and how to stop this mistake now.false friends in English

“I have been doing classes twice per week and during one of those classes I was talking about my current job and I said my “actual” job and my teacher corrected me. What should I have said?”

-Rodolfo, AEE Listener

Rodolfo fell into the trap of using “actually” as a false friend.

Rodolfo is from Brazil and tried to translate directly from his native language.

Today we want to show you what “actually” really means in English.

This word is super dynamic.

The best way to learn how to use it is to listen to native speakers.

We use it all of the time. If you can start using it naturally in the situations that we’ll show you today you will push your English to the advanced level.


All Ears English TranscriptsMake sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Get the transcripts from today’s episode.

Click here to download them instantly.


The important thing to remember is that “actually” DOES NOT mean “currently.”


Situations to use “actually”:

  • To disagree: “He thinks I am an expert in Spanish but actually I am only a beginner” or “He thinks I am an expert but I am only a beginner actually.”


  • To emphasize changing your mind: “Let’s grab a beer on Wednesday. Oh actually I have something on Wednesday. Let’s meet on Thursday”


  • To show surprise: “Can you believe he actually passed the test. He didn’t study at all.”


  • To add more information: “I met a funny guy on my hike. He reminded me of my friend John actually”


native English teachersAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

Get a native English teacher online in seconds at italki.

Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

Get our special offer before it runs out! Go to italki and claim 10USD to go toward a FREE second English lesson at italki!


Other ways to say “now”:

  • At the moment
  • At this point
  • At this time
  • Up to this point


Other words that mean “actually”:

  • On second thought
  • In fact
  • The truth is
  • In reality
  • Also


Listen to the episode to hear the conversation between Lindsay and Michelle.

Leave us your sample sentences in the comments below.

Test Your English Level Now

Free English Quiz

Take this simple quiz and find out your English level.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • App-Store-Button
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)