After I made a comment to a friend the other day, she said, as if to herself, “Actually.” Then she smiled, not derisively, but in delight.

“Did I say “actually” too many times?” I asked. “I actually do have a tendency to overuse the word.”

She responded, “No, I like it. It’s not a word you hear that often.”

Well, if you hang around me, you will actually hear “actually” a lot. Since I actually do overuse the word, I actually have to go through my manuscripts try to edit “actually” out of my work. (See List From Hell to see what other words I tend to overuse.)

I’d actually never realized I had an actual problem until I once played back a blog radio show where I’d been interviewed. And there it was . . . actually. Actually, there were a lot of “actually”s. I don’t remember how many times I said “actually” in that half-hour segment, but enough that by the time the program ended, I was actually appalled.

The next time I was on blog radio being interviewed, I was very careful with my “actually”s. For a while, I actually tried to censor my everyday speech, but somewhere along the way I actually forgot, so now I’ve reverted to overusing the word “actually. Actually, now that I think of it, I even forgot to de-actually my last couple of finished manuscripts.

I actually don’t know why I use the word so much. It could be from my need to always set the record straight, but I don’t know for sure, actually.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

6 Responses to “Actually”

  1. Karen Says:

    I actually think that is very actually write good blog

  2. joanspilman Says:

    Actually, you’re very witty. Spot on. I actually like this a lot!

  3. Sam Sattler Says:

    When my grandson was about thirteen, he seemed to start every other sentence with that word. When I pointed it out to him, he did as I expected he might…he doubled down on the word and watched for my reaction. It became out little inside joke for a few months.

  4. snakesinthegrass2014 Says:

    Interesting what our fallback words are. I’m constantly replacing “nevertheless” from my posts before I publish; I seem to always have at least three or four without even realizing that I’ve done it. My mom once slapped me as a teenager because I said, “Obviously” in response to her. I must have said that one too many times. 🙂 – Marty

  5. Kathy Says:

    I know the feeling. I use the word “so” way too many times in my manuscripts. It is appalling but I’m so attached to the word – lol!

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