in fact, as a matter of fact, actually
The French expression en fait
is a statement of contradiction, used when you want to set the record straight.
-As-tu faim ? -Non, en fait, j'ai déjà mangé.
-Are you hungry? -No, actually, I've already eaten.
J'avais pensé que nous allions le faire ensemble, mais en fait j'étais tout seul.
I'd thought we were going to do it together, but in fact I was by myself.
There are two potential confusions with the expression en fait
1. It's really only used to contradict something. In English there's another meaning of "in fact," where you agree with what was just said and want to add some more information, as in "Yes, in fact, that's a good idea." In this case, a better translation of "in fact" is en effet
, or possibly justement
2. Though it may sound similar, the expression au fait
means something very different.