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Reality vs. Actuality: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 5, 2023
Reality is the state of things as they exist, rather than as they may appear or be imagined. Actuality is the state of being actual or real; the quality of being factually true.

Key Differences

Reality encompasses the state of things as they genuinely exist, including tangible and intangible elements. It's a broad concept that covers everything perceivable, both physical and conceptual. Actuality, in contrast, focuses specifically on the state of being actual or real, often highlighting the truthfulness or factual nature of something.
Reality can include subjective interpretations and perceptions, as it relates to how things are understood or experienced by individuals. It's a term widely used in philosophy, science, and everyday language. Actuality is more about factual truth, often used to emphasize the genuine state of affairs, without the influence of perception or belief.
In discussing reality, one might consider various perspectives or theoretical possibilities. It's a term that invites contemplation and discussion about the nature of existence and experience. Actuality, however, is more straightforward, referring to what is demonstrably true and real, often in contrast to what is theoretical or hypothetical.
Reality can be shaped by cultural, social, and personal factors, making it a complex and often debated concept. It's not limited to physical existence but includes the realm of ideas and beliefs. Actuality is more concrete, dealing with the actual state of things as they are, irrespective of interpretations or implications.
In art and literature, reality is often explored as a theme, questioning or depicting the nature of existence and human perception. Actuality, by comparison, is used to assert factual or real-life situations, often employed in contexts where truth and factual accuracy are paramount.

Comparison Chart


The state of things as they exist, including perceptions and ideas
The state of being actual or factual; true state of affairs


Broad, encompassing physical and conceptual elements
Focused on the factual truth and actual state of affairs


Can be shaped by perception, culture, and personal beliefs
Centers on demonstrable, objective truth


Widely used in philosophical, scientific, and general contexts
Often used to emphasize truthfulness or real-life situations

Relation to Perception

Includes subjective interpretations
Generally devoid of personal interpretations

Reality and Actuality Definitions


The totality of real things and events as they exist independently.
The reality of space exploration excites many scientists.


The actual existence, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of something.
The actuality of running a business can be very different from the dream.


The state of the world as it really is rather than how one might want it to be.
In reality, achieving success requires hard work and persistence.


The quality or state of being actual or real.
The actuality of climate change is evident in extreme weather patterns.


The sum of all real things and events.
The harsh reality of life is often different from our expectations.


The state of existing in fact; real-life occurrences.
In actuality, the project was more challenging than initially anticipated.


The quality of being true to life or resembling real life.
Reality TV aims to capture the unscripted actions of its participants.


The condition of being real or true, as opposed to being mere possibility or speculation.
The actuality of achieving world peace remains a significant challenge.


The state or quality of having existence or substance.
The virtual world blurs the line between fiction and reality.


Something that is actual; a factual occurrence.
The film was based on the actuality of historical events.


The quality or state of being actual or true.


The state or fact of being actual; reality.


One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual
"the weight of history and political realities" (Benno C. Schmidt, Jr.).


Often actualities Actual conditions or facts.


The state of existing; existence.


An instance or quality of being actual or factual; fact.


(television) Live reporting on current affairs.


A short early motion picture.


The state of being actual; reality; as, the actuality of God's nature.


The state of actually existing objectively;
A hope that progressed from possibility to actuality


How does reality differ from perception?

Reality includes both objective existence and subjective perceptions, whereas perception is solely how one interprets reality.

Is actuality always factual?

Yes, actuality emphasizes the factual and true state of affairs.

What is reality?

Reality refers to the state of things as they exist, encompassing tangible and intangible elements.

Does everyone experience reality in the same way?

No, individual experiences and perceptions can shape how one experiences reality.

What is actuality?

Actuality is the state of being actual or real, focusing on factual truth.

Can reality be subjective?

Reality can have subjective aspects based on individual perceptions and interpretations.

Can actuality be proven?

Actuality is typically based on provable, demonstrable facts.

How does culture influence reality?

Culture can shape beliefs and perceptions, thus influencing how reality is experienced and understood.

Why is understanding reality important?

Understanding reality is important for making informed decisions and understanding the world around us.

How does actuality relate to truth?

Actuality is closely related to truth, as it pertains to what is factually real and true.

Does actuality change over time?

The actuality of a situation may change as new facts emerge, but it always remains grounded in what is true and real.

Is reality a philosophical concept?

Yes, reality is a central concept in philosophy, exploring the nature of existence and experience.

Is reality tangible?

Reality includes both tangible and intangible elements.

Can reality be altered?

One's perception of reality can change, but the objective reality remains constant.

Does actuality include theoretical concepts?

Actuality usually does not include theoretical concepts; it is concerned with what is real and demonstrable.

How do art and literature explore reality?

Art and literature often explore reality by depicting or questioning the nature of existence and human perception.

Is actuality always objective?

Actuality is generally objective, focusing on factual and real-life occurrences.

Can actuality be subjective?

Actuality is typically not subjective, as it deals with factual truth.

Can one's reality differ from another's?

Yes, individual perceptions and experiences can lead to different understandings of reality.

Is actuality the same as truth?

Actuality is akin to truth, focusing on what is factually accurate and real.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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