Is "exactly" and "actually" redundant here?

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Senior Member
My friend says I am being "pompous".

I wrote the following sentence:

Without the direction and magnitude of the regional unemployment rate, we do not exactly know whether employment conditions are actually improving or deteriorating.​

They want me to omit "exactly" and "actually" because the words serve no real purpose. I don't know what to say. My thinking is that there may be other metrics that may give some indication of employment conditions (like employment growth rate). And so stating that "we do not know" might seem absolute and my reader might get pissed off. Using "exactly" shows we do not know clearly or with 100% certainty.

I don't know about "actually". It seemed fine until my friend objected. In most cases, it can be taken out without altering the intended meaning.

I didn't actually see her - I just heard her voice. (same as I didn't see her - I just heard her voice.)​
So what actually happened? (same as So what happened?)​
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    In general, the words are not redundant; "exactly" refers to precision, "actually" emphasizes the reality of the statement.

    To my way of thinking, you may not know exactly how much conditions are improving or deteriorating. Or, you may not be certain whether they are in fact improving or deteriorating -- you don't know whether they 'actually are improving or deteriorating. Perhaps they only seem to be getting better or worse.

    I suggest that pick the word that best expresses your thinking. My guess would be that 'actually' would be best, but I don't know your whole argument.
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