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  1. I haven't seen Mr. John __.

    Which is correct, recently or lately?

  2. My uncle has been to Germany lately.

    Why is the correct answer in the second example lately and not recently?

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1  
What makes you think that in the second example the correct answer is lately and not recently? –  Kris Jun 21 '13 at 11:35
    
Because it is the correct answer in the formal exam. If you are sure it is incorrect, I will use your answer as an evidence. –  Muhammad Mokhtar Jun 21 '13 at 15:30

3 Answers 3

Lately strikes me as more repeatable/continuous. In case of negative, like "I haven't seen..." it's completely equal but if it were a positive, "I have seen Mr. John working around his house lately" would mean he was doing it several times, while "I have seen Mr. John working around his house recently" would be about seeing him once.

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Neither word is wrong in either of your examples.

The words lately and recently have almost the same meaning. As so often in English, one of them comes from an Anglo-Saxon root (lately) and the other from Latin, via French. To my British ears recently sounds more normal; I don't think I would use lately unless I was trying to be literary or poetical.

So I would say

  1. I have not seen Mr John recently.
  2. My uncle has been to Germany recently.

Although note that you can vary the emphasis of the second sentence by putting the adverb earlier: My uncle has recently been to Germany emphasizes the destination rather than how long ago it was.

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'Lately' this time expression goes good with Present Perfent Tense while 'recently' is user in Simple Past Tense.

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I have recently read the newspaper. –  Matt Эллен Oct 16 '13 at 10:05

protected by RegDwigнt Oct 16 '13 at 7:30

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