General Question

prasad's avatar

What is difference between "lately" and "recently"?

Asked by prasad (3857points) April 29th, 2012

Is there any difference between usage of these two words – lately and recently?
I have noticed few examples in the newspapers, “she’s been seen dating with him lately…”, “recent reports show that…”, etc.
Also, I have read somewhere “of late”, how do you use it?
Do you use similar words or phrases that refer to nearby past? or any time period?

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13 Answers

chewhorse's avatar

Tomatta.. Tomato.. Pottata.. Potato. Depends on the speaker.

bewailknot's avatar

When I speak I use “lately” but when I write I use “recently.” Hmmm.

AshlynM's avatar

I think it all depends on the sentence. I believe “of late” is hardly used, except in news reports, and even then it’s rare.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading as of late.

I believe they all basically mean the same thing and indicate amount of frequency.

prasad's avatar

Thanks jellies!

@AshlynM …I believe they all basically mean the same thing and indicate amount of frequency. Could you explain more about how the amount of frequency relates to the above words?

AshlynM's avatar

It’s the duration on how long you’ve been doing a certain activity, since lately and recently seem to be connected to activities.

Lately might indicate you could be doing it for a long time or have been doing it for some time.
Recently might indicate something has happened in the IMMEDIATE past.

righty's avatar

Whatever sounds good at the time! “Johnny come recently, new kid in town” wouldn’t have sounded as good for example.

CaliforniaKin's avatar


Recently, Garmin Recall of the Oxford English Dictionary Online blog looked at the difference between “lately” and “recently.” Before we go on, try substituting “Lately” for “Recently” in the preceding sentence and I think the reader can come to a different meaning of the sentence. Here’s why there’s a difference: On February 14th 2012, Garmin Recall wrote his blog post on this question. “Recently” suggests that the blog post was written one time at specific point in time (though an unspecified date.) If the sentence started with “Lately,” there is a suggestion that the Garmin Recall wrote about “Recently/Latelly” more than once and over a period of time (duration). In many/most situations “recently” can be used; however, “lately” suggests that there is implied duration that “recently” does not necessarily suggest.

Garmin Recall’s researched conclusion was the same as others—that “lately” and “recently” are, for the most part, interchangeable.

He too looked at usage of “Lately/Recently” and found that “recently” is currently more commonly used than lately. He found that “Recently” has been steadily increasing in usage over the last 200 years whereas “Lately” has been in steady decline over that same period. I found his post, particularly the embedded YouTube video, to be quite interesting and useful for finding other answers to questions like this one.


MikeMike's avatar

Lately means that you’ve been doing something. Recently means you have done. Doing / Done. There’s your difference;).

MikeMike's avatar

You could say: “I thought about you recently”. You wouldn’t say “Lately I thought about you”. You could say: ” Lately, I’ve been thinking about you”. Got it?

prasad's avatar

@All Thanks
@AshlynM Thank you very much! Now, I got it in your last sentence.
@MikeMike Thank you for pointing the difference out! Doing / Done; I’d remember this! Thanks for example too.
@CaliforniaKin Thanks. Welcome to Fluther!
@righty Thanks for the example!

wundayatta's avatar

Recently indicates a specific point in time that is pretty close to now.

Lately indicates a duration of time that extends from now back an indeterminate length of time.

Recently, he did that.

Lately, he has been doing that.

prasad's avatar

@wundayatta I wondered where were you! Thank you. Can I use lately like…
Lately, he had been doing that (may be talking about what he did one year ago).

wundayatta's avatar

“Lately he had” doesn’t really sound right to me. I guess if he was dead, you might say that. But generally it would be lately he has… It’s something he’s been doing lately and is still doing.

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