This question has been answered · 19 replies
Approved answer (verified by Mister Micawber)
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.
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.
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.
Since it's getting late here, I leave it as an exercise to the reader to find examples which prove or disprove the point!
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!
BTW, dear MountainHiker, what is your phone number? A woman named Meg, is planning to call you. <----- (just kidding)
Anonymous: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.
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