What makes so many people pepper their spoken language with the word "actually"? Does it make them feel educated?
Proper use is usually relegated to things that are surprising or unbelievable or something that requires assurance…not something that we use as some sort of lame verbal punctuation: We "actually" crossed the street; or the sun "actually" rose today. Someone recently even said, "actually really" for total assurance.
actually |ˈak ch oōəlē|
1 as the truth or facts of a situation; really : we must pay attention to what young people are actually doing | the time actually worked on a job.
2 [as sentence adverb ] used to emphasize that something someone has said or done is surprising : he actually expected me to be pleased about it!
• used when expressing an opinion, typically one that is not expected : “Actually,” she said icily, “I don't care who you go out with.”
• used when expressing a contradictory opinion or correcting someone : “Tom seems to be happy.” “He isn't, actually, not any more.”
• used to introduce a new topic or to add information to a previous statement : he had a thick Brooklyn accent—he sounded like my grandfather actually.