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Is Actually Necessary?

Updated: Aug 19

Wordiness often occurs using an extra word here or there, not just when writing run-on sentences. Many of these extra words come in the form of an adjective or adverb. "Actually" is one of the unneeded adverbs used in scholarly writing.


Is this word needed in the sentence below?


  • Recent studies explore whether managers ARE ACTUALLY USING technology to connect with their teams effectively.


"Actually" means "in act or in fact" (Merriam-Webster, online). While the adverb is often used for emphasis when speaking, it does add any meaning in many academic contexts. When describing a verb, an adverb should explain how the action is being done. In this sentence, the reader does not gain more understanding of how technology is being used by the adverb "actually."


When something is "used," it is "put into action or service" (Merriam-Webster, online). In other words, this sentence can be written: "Recent studies explore whether managers are putting technology into action to connect with their teams effectively." Therefore, the adverb can be deleted since it doesn't explain how managers are using technology.


  • Recent studies explore whether managers ARE USING technology to connect with their teams effectively.


Writers must be mindful to use adjectives and adverbs effectively so that they add useful descriptions.


Cultivating writers...one tip at a time!


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