Virtual or Actual?


In the same way “literal” and “figurative” are often used incorrectly, people also confuse the meanings of these two words:

VIRTUAL means in effect or almost: “I’m so hungry, I could eat a virtual horse.”

A virtual horse is one that doesn’t exist. It isn’t actual. It might be a horse in a painting or some other image of a horse, but it isn’t alive (or even dead). It doesn’t exist.

You are certainly familiar with the term “virtual reality.” That means something that seems to be real in every way but is, in fact, an illusion.

On the other hand, if you’re hungry enough to eat an actual horse you’re more likely to satisfy your appetite in France than in many other countries. (But being vegan or vegetarian is also an option you might consider.)

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language

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