What's the difference between recently and lately

5 Answers


Mideli 1170

Although "lately" and "recently" are nearly synonyms, they are different in way they are used.

If an action is habitual or repetitive, either word is fine; in that case, "lately" and "recently" can be used interchangeably:

"Crimes against grammar have decreased by 32% lately/recently."

"Lately/Recently, there has been a spike in people's interest in the Oxford comma."

But for unique actions orevents, use "recently" instead of "lately" (The latter sounds awkward).

"My cousin had a baby recently." (Right)

"My cousin had a baby lately." (Wrong)


I don't know if you realised, but what you have just shown is that they're interchangeable in pr. perfect, but not in s. past.


Recently is used for something that has already happened and lately is for an ongoing event.


I guess RECENTLY means something that has been doing at the moment. Ex. I have worked on this project recently.

But LATELY means that you have done something for some period of time. Ex. I have eaten healthy lately because the doctor asked me to do it.


I think 'Recently' refers to something that happened in no time ago and 'lately' refers to something that has being happening since an specific recent time until now.


RECENTLY : during the period of time that has just passed : not long ago

LATELY : in the recent period of time

When used with pr. perfect, the difference is mainly structural. While they can both be positioned at the beginning or end of a sentence, only "recently" can split the verb (i.e. "have recently taken").

When it comes to s. past, as there is the slight difference in meaning, "recently" sounds natural, while "lately" doesn't.

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