According to Oxford Learner's Dictionary:

real adverb

(North American English, Scottish English, informal) very

  • That tastes real good.
  • He's a real nice guy.
  • I'm real sorry.

So, is it correct to use "really" instead of "real" in the examples above?

Now, let's put some other examples:

a. It's a real small town

b. It's a really small town

c. It's really a small town

Are all these three correct? Do they mean the same?

  • 1
    Are you using them in an informal way? The adverbial use of "real" is really annoying to me... so I don't think it's appropriate to use it, ever... that doesn't prevent people from doing so. – Catija Aug 10 '16 at 21:27
  • In my family, "real" as an adverb is very bogan. I have to agree with @Catija. – Dog Lover Aug 10 '16 at 21:30

I agree with everything @Roy C. has said but wanted to add a comment (but am unable to as my reputation has just dipped below 50 for some reason!)

In your examples, I would read 'c. It's really a small town.' as being grammatically correct but meaning something different to b.

'It's a really small town.' --> 'It is a very small town.'
'It's really a small town.' --> 'In reality, it's a small town.'

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  • 1
    Then there is also "It really is a small town". – user190075 Aug 10 '16 at 18:58
  • Absolutely! :-) – gbra Aug 10 '16 at 19:49

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