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Published on: Grammar Bites

Are “actual / actually” and “actual / actualmente” the same?

Are “actual” (in English) and “actual” (in Spanish) the same thing? How about “actually” and “actualmente”?

No, they are quite different. Let’s take a look at each pair:

The word “actual” in Spanish means “current”, “present”, “contemporary”.

  • Las condiciones climáticas actuales no son favorables; creo que debemos cancelar la feria. The present weather conditions are not favorable; I think we need to cancel the fair.
  • El actual diseño del nuevo museo atrae a muchos visitantes. The contemporary design of the new museum attracts many visitors.
  • La dueña actual quiere vender la casa pronto. The current owner wants to sell the house quickly.

When we want to convey the meaning of the English term “actual”, we use “real”, “verdadero”, “exacto”, “propiamente dicho”.

  • Todavía no se conocen los números exactos. The actual numbers are still unknown.
  • La dueña real está viajando por el extranjero; él solo está cuidando la casa. The actual owner is travelling abroad; he is just housesitting.
  • Este semestre vamos a estudiar casos verdaderos. This semester we are going to study actual cases.

The same happens with the popular English adverb “actually”. In Spanish, we express its meaning with words and phrases such as: “en realidad”, “de hecho”, “exactamente”; while the Spanish adverb “actualmente” conveys the idea of “currently”, “nowadays”, “at the moment”.

  • En realidad todavía no los hemos visto; recién hemos llegado. Actually we haven’t seen them yet; we’ve just arrived.
  • De hecho, los crímenes han bajado con la nueva ley. Actually, crimes have gone down with the new law.
  • Actualmente vivimos en un mundo muy tecnológico. Nowadays we live in a highly technological world.
  • Ella no se encuentra actualmente, ¿quiere dejar un mensaje? She is not here at the moment, do you want to leave a message?
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