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  1. #1
    CarloSsS's Avatar
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    Default recently and lately + present perfect simple or continuous

    I was wondering, would something like this be acceptable?
    "We've been having some difficulties recently/lately."
    or would it sound more natural with present perfect simple?
    "We've had some difficulties recently/lately."
    or maybe past simple would sound even more natural:
    "We had some difficulties recently/lately."

    Is there any difference between lately and recently in these sentences?
    I'm trying to understand what tense one uses with "recently" and what tense with "lately" and if it makes any difference when you exchange "recently" for "lately" or vice versa. Would somebody clear this up for me please?

  2. #2
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    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: recently and lately + present perfect simple or continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    I was wondering, would something like this be acceptable?
    "We've been having some difficulties recently/lately." This is OK.
    or would it sound more natural with present perfect simple?
    "We've had some difficulties recently/lately." This is OK.
    or maybe past simple would sound even more natural:
    "We had some difficulties recently/lately."
    No, this isn't right. The simple past should be reserved for single events or multiple events that happened at a discrete time. You can say, "He had some difficulties last year/yesterday" because this specifies a definite time. You can't use either 'lately' or recently' if you mean a specific time.


    Is there any difference between lately and recently in these sentences? No, not in the ones you've given.
    I'm trying to understand what tense one uses with "recently" and what tense with "lately" and if it makes any difference when you exchange "recently" for "lately" or vice versa.
    Would somebody clear this up for me please?
    The sentences you've given above refer to multiple events that have all happened recently/lately (indefinite time), so the tenses you use are the same for each adverb.

    However, 'recently' can be used for a single event in the simple past, whereas 'lately' can't.
    "He broke his arm recently" is correct, but "He broke his arm lately" is not correct.

    This is true at least for AusE. Perhaps these adverbs are used differently in other places.

    PS: Have we even lost the glossaries for 'AusE' etc?

  3. #3
    CarloSsS's Avatar
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    Default Re: recently and lately + present perfect simple or continuous

    One more thing. What is the difference in meaning between these two?
    "We've been having some difficulties recently/lately."
    "We've had some difficulties recently/lately."
    As I understand it, the first says that the difficulties are still happening (and happened in the recent past a few times), while the second says that they happened not a long time ago, but doesn't say whether they are still taking place or not. It just sums up the recent past.

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    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: recently and lately + present perfect simple or continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by CarloSsS View Post
    One more thing. What is the difference in meaning between these two?
    "We've been having some difficulties recently/lately."
    "We've had some difficulties recently/lately."
    As I understand it, the first says that the difficulties are still happening (and happened in the recent past a few times), while the second says that they happened not a long time ago, but doesn't say whether they are still taking place or not. It just sums up the recent past.
    Yes, that's right. But the frequency of the difficulties might be such that it's impossible to say whether you are still having them; for example, if bad things have been happening once a week, and it's five days since the last event, you don't really know if they are still happening. In that case, both of those sentences work.

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: recently and lately + present perfect simple or continuous

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    PS: Have we even lost the glossaries for 'AusE' etc?
    No, but we have had to rebuild the list, so let me know of any others missing. AusE is back. Thanks

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