Speech – Actually

Have you actually ever listened really closely to the actual words used in a radio or TV interview?

There, I actually just did it here to show you what I actually mean.

Got it yet?

Well, it is the over and superfluous use of the words ‘actual’ and actually’.

I first discovered that I was doing just this, about 15 years ago. I was lecturing in “C” computer programming at a college with about 90 students in a large lecture theatre.
When lecturing, it is not too hard to detect when the crowd is becoming bored. Also, detection of the odd smirk is easy.
I detected both these things and it took me a couple of weeks to figure out.
By watching the group, and trying to figure out if I was gesturing in some particular way that would trigger their reactions, I noticed that it looked as though they were ‘scoring’ my presentation. Several were marking their notes as I was speaking.

By watching them, I finally determined that each time I said either ‘actual’ or ‘actually’, I was being scored. And I was saying it a lot!

So, I realized that I had to stop adding this word where it was not needed. This did not take much effort.

Soon I had my lecture group back in tow, and they were able to concentrate (I hope) on learning to program in “C”.

Next time you listen to a person being interviewed on radio, or TV, listen out for them using ‘actually’ and ‘actual’. It drives me mad now to hear it so much!

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