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These 4 words (实际, 现实, 确实, and 实在) all mean different combinations of 'real', 'indeed', 'practical', 'really', and 'reality'. Is there any easy way to distinguish, remember and understand the differences between these 4 words? Thank you!

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In reality, I would indeed recommend that you really practice hard and make your practice sessions practical. –  rhughes May 21 at 4:01

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I'm going to try and make this as clear and simple as I can:

实际:practical/actual(ality) 实际上:"in fact,...." 很实际:very practical

现实:real/reality 现实生活中:in real life 成为现实:to be realized

确实:indeed/really 确实好:it really is good

实在:really/honestly/truly 实在对不起:truly sorry 这个人很实在:he's really down to earth

As far as remembering I would highly suggest you understand what each individual character means...most Chinese words are compounds (two words put together) - for instance if we look at 确实 we have: (确 certain + 实 substantial = verified to be true, indeed). This kind of understanding will give you a huge advantage to learning Chinese.

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