Difference Between Really and Real!

Difference Between Really and Real!

Welcome back English learners! This blog is going to discuss the difference between real and really. The word real refers to something that is considered true.

Most of the time, this word is an adjective. Meaning, it describes a noun.

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Here are some helpful examples:

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  • The YouTube video was not fake, it was real. (It was a truthful, non-edited video.)
  • The following story was based on real life events. (These events happened in someone’s life.)
  • There is a real gorilla outside right now. (This is NOT someone in a gorilla suit.)

The word real could also be used as an adverb. An adverb describes a verb or an adjective. When real is used as an adverb, the definition means extremely.

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For example:

  • She did a real nice job fixing the car. (I am extremely pleased with the work on the car).
  • The word really is an adverb and an interjection.

When you use the word really as an adverb (describing the verb or adjective) then it doesn’t matter if you use real or really. It comes down to personal choice.

Really has the definition of meaning actually, truly, without a doubt or even in reality.

It might be easier to know some synonyms of the word really to help remember when to use it. (Synonym are words that have the same definition.)

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The following are synonyms of really

Absolutely, actually, certainly, easily, genuinely, honestly, indeed, legitimately, literally, surely, truly, undoubtedly, unquestionably and well.

Here are some examples of the word really used in sentences:

  • Bob is so much in love that he can’t see that she really doesn’t like him. (I used an adverb that means truly.)
  • I really can’t tell the difference between Mom’s cake and my sister’s cake. They taste identical.

If you are able to replace the word really with most of the synonyms; then you are using the word correctly.

There are some sentences where both real and really can be used.

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For example:

  • The ice cream in Italy is really good.
  • The word good is an adjective and I need a word that describes this adjective. I can only use an adverb. Really works here.

BUT, I could also say:

  • The ice cream in Italy is real good. The word good is a friend of everyone and allows both real and really to describe it.

The word really can also be used as in interjection. An interjection is a part of speech that expresses emotion.

Really expresses surprise or doubt.

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For example:

You won’t believe this, but Mary just had her baby!


You must be careful with how you say really when using it as an interjection.

If you say really and you use an intonation that goes from low to high, native English speakers will understand that you believe them.

Intonation is the way you sing and change the pitch in your voice. Like when you sing words, the notes change.

When you start with lower notes (or a lower pitch) and end with a higher note (higher pitch) when saying the word “really” it means you believe the person or the thing that was said.

On the other hand, if you end with a lower pitch when saying really it means that you do NOT believe the person or what was said.

An easier way to remember this is the following:

Really = high notes = I believe you

Really = low notes = I do NOT believe you (you need to convince me!)

Great job! Keep practicing to master the difference between real and really.

It will take some time before you can remember these rules. So come back to this post to help refresh your memory!

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