You use actual to emphasize that the place, object, or person you are talking about is the correct or genuine one. For example, if you talk about the actual cost of something, you are talking about what it does cost rather than what it is expected to cost.

1. .. turning from ratings in the polls to actual performance in elections.
2. We call the baby Doc. His actual name is Daniel.

You can also use actual when you are giving exact information about something, for example the time you take to do something rather than preparing to do it.

3. The actual boat trip takes about forty-five minutes.

You only use actual in front of a noun. You do not say that something ‘is actual’.

Something that is real exists and is not imagined, invented, or theoretical.

4. …real or imagined feelings of inferiority.
5. Robert squealed in mock terror, then in real pain.

Note that you can use real after a link verb like ‘be’.

6. What we saw was real.