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Real vs Actual vs True

Real, actualtrue, and their derivative nouns reality, actuality, truth are often interchangeable in general, as distinct from technical philosophical or critical, language without marked loss when they mean correspondent to or what is correspondent to all the facts known and knowable; thus, one may say the real, or the actual, or the true state of affairs in the foregoing sense without evident and inherent difference in meaning.

The terms are also often used interchangeably, but with distinct loss in clearness and precision, when their common implication is merely that of having or constituting substantial objective existence.

Real, in this more inclusive sense, implies genuineness, or correspondence between what the thing appears or pretends to be and what it is.

Actual emphasizes occurrence or manifest existence often in contrast with possible or theoretical or expected occurrence or existence; it is applied to what has emerged into the sphere of action or fact and is inapplicable to abstractions.

True implies conformity either to what is real or to what is actual. If the former is intended, the term presupposes a standard, a pattern, a model, a technical definition, or a type by which what is true is determined.

When true stresses conformity to what is actual, it presupposes the test of correspondence to what exists in nature or to all the facts known and knowable.