So I am unsure whether to include the "t" in the pronunciation. I have heard both the t being pronounced distincly and left out entirely ( sound like "sh" sound only) and this is not just about this word but about every instance in which there is "tu". My dictionary says "æktfually" which I dont understand shouldnt it be "ækchually" ?Another word would be "structure" sometimes I hear the second "t" other times its just the "sh.

  • 2
    You do not understood the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet.) The IPA representation of the word is æktʃuəli, not "æktfually". The letter ʃ does not represent an "F" sound as in "fish." It is the voiceless palato-alveolar sibilant, called esh and pronounced like "sh" in ship. Many dictionaries provide the pronunciation of actually (which is not remarkable or unusual.) Try this one, for instance. Oct 17, 2016 at 4:27
  • Alright in your example the t is clearly not pronounced but in oxford learner dic it is. So what do I pick? The one without "t" more casual for smoother speech? And I dont know where to find the letter that looks similar to the f. I just assumed that "f"u is "ch" but it was the "sh" you mentioned not "ch" as in chomp. Oct 17, 2016 at 4:31
  • The t is clearly voiced in both pronunciations. The t in the combination may be hard to "hear" if it does not occur in one's first language, but it is certainly there in both the BrE and NAmE pronunciations at the Oxford site, especially in the BrE example, where it is almost emphasized. Oct 17, 2016 at 4:36
  • Ok I listened to them again and noticed the t in oxfords but in the dictionary you provided me with its either very hard or absent. What do you mean by both? Both dictionaries or british american?If I were to pronounce it like this "ækshually" because I have trouble adding the t unless I make an excessive stop would that be okay? Oct 17, 2016 at 4:40
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    In phonetics, the sound we usually spell as CH is the combination of t and ʃ. You'll be all right if you just pronounce it as CH: akCHuali. Oct 17, 2016 at 4:55

2 Answers 2


Actual is correctly pronounced with a tʃ (ʃ = sh as in sharp) sound after the t.

If I were to pronounce it like this "ækshually" because I have trouble adding the t unless I make an excessive stop would that be okay?

No one's going to notice or care if you pronounce ct as a non-aspirated k and follow it with a ʃ (sh) with no t, and this is how people say it quickly or when not emphasizing the word.

Pronouncing it correctly definitely involves a firm stop. Ask a native speaker to repeat the word slowly and very clearly, and they will do the same.

A hidden ʃ is often added after t in some words, particularly with tr and ctu - e.g. sanctuary, trade, try, triangle.


Personally I think this is an issue of "King's English" vs "American English". Brits (Aussies, Kiwis and Canadians) that I know use the hard t in the middle, making it almost a 4 syllable word "act-tu-al-ly", whereas most Americans use the sh in the middle and it's 3 syllables; "ak-shu-ly".

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