There are a couple of reasons why English learners make mistakes with these words. Firstly, they’re false friends in many languages. They look like words that mean ‘currently’ or ‘at present’ when really they mean ‘in fact’. That can get confusing. If someone asks me for our actual sales figures I’ll think they mean real ones when in fact they may be wanting the current ones.
And the other reason these words are hard is it’s not always obvious when we use them. Do they indicate that what we’re about to say could be surprising? Do they indicate that we think our listeners won’t like our answers? Do we use them to correct something we’ve just said or maybe to correct someone else? Well, actually we use them in all these situations! In our latest video lesson we have examples of them all.