Tuesday, January 10, 2012

False Friends: Actual/Actualmente vs. Actual/Actually

Hello! I was on vacation for the last month or so, so I apologize that I didn't do any blog posts. I did put up a few things on Sitzman ABC's Facebook page, so if you want to follow that, you can do it by clicking here

What's another way to say this phrase in English? How would you say it in Spanish? Image Credit

Today we have another False Friend. If you don't know what a False Friend is, see this introductory post. Today we're going to look at the difference between actual and actualmente in Spanish and actual and actually in English. This is one of the most common False Friends I notice my students having problems with: 

False Friend: actual/actualmente vs. actual/actually 
This SPANISH word...
Looks like this ENGLISH word...
...but they are DIFFERENT because...
actual / actualmente
actual / actually
These two words look exactly the same, but they have different pronunciations and meanings:

In Spanish, actual is a word used to indicate something relevant at this present time, right now:
"Mi trabajo actual es bastante difícil."

If you want to say the same thing in English, instead use the word current or present:
"My current/present job is rather difficult."

"We are studying current events in our Social Studies class."

The adverb forms of these words are currently and presently:
"I'm currently (right now) working on my Sitzman ABC blog."

In English, the words actual and actually indicate a contradiction. They mean the same thing as real or really in this context. For example:

Jane: "Pete, you have a beautiful car!"
Pete: "Actually, I think it's ugly."

Good luck! If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. If you have suggestions for other False Friends or Common Errors, please tell me. 

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

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