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Is “actually” the new “um”?

April 30, 2013

I have caught myself at it, and now I can’t seem to stop hearing it in conversation over and over. It’s the word “actually” and it’s overuse is close to driving me mad! I enjoy listening to talk radio, and when a guest comes on and seems to stumble with what to say, or gets over-excited on the topic, they will use “actually” over and over. I took a computer class a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t concentrate on the lesson, the instructor was repeating it with almost every sentence. I decided to see how many times she said the word “actually” in ten minutes, I counted 26. People used to have a nice little meaningless “um” but have substituted it with actually. I can’t fathom why.


Hamster:  “It’s more than my leetle brain can take!”

Actually is a perfectly good word when used appropriately in the context of emphasis, provided it is used sparingly. Listen to other people talk and you will probably hear it over and over throughout the day. Is our world that captivating that we need to emphasize every other sentence? If you do need the emphasis why use the same one over and over and over? It is almost as bad as listening to political ads during the noon news. It’s a trap!


Hamster:  “Oh, no! Say it isn’t so!”

Please, good people everywhere, consider using some new words in your speech. I suggest; certainly, positively, probably, undoubtedly, indubitably and assuredly. I would actually appreciate it. Thank you.



Hamster:  “This is indubitably a yummy  cob of corn.”

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