Overused, Actually …

Overused, Actually …



Is it just me or does it seem like the word “actually” is popping up in people’s conversations and writing a lot more than it used to?

Now that I’ve brought your attention to it I guess it won’t be just me.

Did you know that if you take “actually” out of your speech and writing, in most cases, it will be improved?

The word, actually, does have a specific meaning but like a lot of other words these days it has become fluff and filler and no longer holds any value.

Just look at “very” and “really”. They have become so overused they no longer have any worth and now detract from the writing. If you wish to convey the idea that something is good then putting “very” or “really” before it doesn’t make it any better.

Good is good. There aren’t degrees of good. Something which is good is still as good as something which is very good or really good.

Another overused word is “basically”, and don’t even get me started on “totally” and “literally” which all seem to be interchangeable with “actually”. They do not all mean the same thing. They all have separate and distinct meanings.  Most of the time it is unnecessary to use any of these words to have your ideas understood and if you want to sound less like a vacuous idiot don’t use them unless you mean it.

My point is, these words all have meaning and value but they have been inserted into text and speech so much that they’ve become meaningless, and “actually” is one of the worst offenders.

It should be used to express amazement or shock or to signify something is “in fact”. I’ve read paragraphs where it has been used in almost every sentence and, while the words which followed it may have been facts, we get it; there is no need to use it so liberally. No literary masterpiece is ever peppered with this word. The writing looks and reads better without its use.

So please, only use words when they mean something and add to the speech or text. Put the meaning back into these overused words and use them sparingly and when they are required to emphasise meaning.

Now that you’ve read this you will all start noticing how prolific and redundant these words are in everyday speech. To save your sanity do what I do, every time you read or hear one of them just ignore it and read or hear as if it isn’t there.

And if you come across one of those unfortunates who totally adds “totally” to the beginning of every utterance, then totally walk away, fast. Throwing your hands in the air is also acceptable.

Keep the Faith

I would love to read your thoughts.  🙂 Leave a comment below.

2 Replies to “Overused, Actually …”

  1. Allyson, I absolutely agree with you here. You prove an excellent point with words such as “actually” being used incorrectly in these modern times. I must also compliment you on the last paragraph, it is extremely effective in getting your point across. 🙂

  2. fuzzykendyl says:

    This is great, And so true. Keep up the good work. The world needs more people like you:-)

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