Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I know they have the same meaning. But I'm wondering if there is any difference between them, like in some cases we can only use one of them?

share|improve this question
3  
Why don't you look these two words up in a dictionary? –  Irene Dec 27 '11 at 11:10
    
I think I can understand why you're confused. In cases that "true" and "real" can be employed interchangeably, you'll need to check which version is more common. For instance, "The true nature of reality" and "The real nature of reality" both are valid phrases, yet the first usage is more common, so you might want to stick to "true reality". Now, how we figure out which usage is more common? You need to read a lot in order to be able to detect and memorize common patterns. You can also use Google Ngram and similar tools. –  Nate Sep 15 '13 at 15:02
add comment

closed as general reference by Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Jasper Loy, Irene, TimLymington, RegDwigнt Dec 27 '11 at 14:09

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Despite @Irene's suggestion to check a dictionary, I find it hard to put the difference into words. The easiest might be to look at antonyms:

  • "True" vs "False": Mainly mathematical/logical?
  • "True" vs "Untrue": Mainly referring statements made by an individual?
  • "Real" vs "Fictional": Existing in "the real world" vs only in imaginary worlds (books, movies, etc)?
  • "Real" vs "Unreal": "as it appears" vs "not really as it appears"?

Sorry this isn't a complete answer (and those certainly aren't complete definitions), hope it helps anyway.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.