Please tell me the difference between "lately" and "recently". Can we use "of late" instead of lately?
'lately', 'recently', and 'of late' all mean essentially the same thing.

The difference is in register. 'lately' is the most commonly used. 'recently' is much used, and only slightly more formal. 'of late' is hardly ever used. To me it seems very formal and old-fashioned. In an everyday conversation, the speaker who uses 'of late' might be considered pretentious by his conversation partners.

Hope that helped. Emotion: smile
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Thanks Jim, but I was watching a TV program (a long ago) and there it was something about recently and lately...I mean they were telling the difference between these two words. And they gave some examples where we can not use "recently", only "lately" is correct to use... I am sorry I forgot the examples. I remember a little about one example : about giving birth to a child... use of "recently"(I am not sure recently or lately) was not appropriate in that case. I hope you can understand what I mean.
Hi Meg,

I agree completely with CalifJim's response.

It seems to me that sometimes you can only use one form.

1) I recently got a phone from a woman named Meg. Do you know her?

2) I lately got a phone call from a woman named Meg. (this sounds awkward and incorrect to me; I can't explain why)

3) Lately, I have been getting a lot of calls from this woman named Meg. ok

4) Recently, I have been getting a lot of calls from this woman named Meg. ok

Perhaps CalifJim can better explain why 1) is okay and 2) is awkward. His knowledge is better than mine. Sorry I can't help you further.

For me , lately and recently have quite different meaning.

I find the difference in the duration of the events or circumstances they are refering to.
I think recently denotes short duration , while lately refers to something that could be happening for long time. Also, recently can refer to something happened in a specific moment.

I've been living in the countryside lately.
I've met John recently.

I've finished the book recently.
Lately, I've been reading about New Zealand.

Am I right, teachers? I hope I am, I've always used them in that way.
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As I think about it more, I believe it has to do with whether the sentence is talking about an event or an activity or state. Apparently "lately" can go with states and activities, but not with events. "Recently" can go with anything. Is that a possibility?

Since it's getting late here, I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find examples which prove or disprove the point!

Emotion: smile
CalifJim & Elena,

Jim, I think you you found the magic solution! Your logic seems to work in all the examples that Elena and I put forward.

Nice to meet you Elena. I don't think we've participated in a thread together before.

It is an excellent question. It certainly stumped me. Nice work CalifJim!

Thank you so much for explaining the difference. While using the words lately and recently, sometimes in some statements use of lately seems to me awkward. Thanks to Jim, now I know the reason.

BTW, dear MountainHiker, what is your phone number? A woman named Meg, is planning to call you. <----- (just kidding)

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My student and I think the difference is that "lately" is used mainly in the negative and question forms, while "recently" can be used in all forms.
Bruce Ingraham
Bukhara, Uzbekistan
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