Late or lately ? - English Grammar Today - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Late or lately?

from English Grammar Today

Late is both an adverb and an adjective; it means the opposite of early. Lately is also an adverb; it means ‘recently’.

Late meaning ‘not on time’

Late as an adverb means ‘not on time’:

Well, I couldn’t find my classroom, so I got to the classroom a bit late and then I had to sing a song in front of the other students!

Not: I got to the classroom a bit lately

The programme started late.

Not: The programme started lately.

Late as an adjective means ‘after the usual time’:

We had a late breakfast.

Compare

We got the train home late.

describes when the activity happened

I got the late train home.

describes the train

Lately meaning ‘recently’

We use lately for states or for repeated events, mostly with the present perfect:

She says she’s been feeling tired lately. I think she’s working too much.

He’s been studying hard lately. He’s got exams at the end of the month.

Warning:

We don’t use lately for single events that happened recently:

I had a strange experience recently.

Not: I had a strange experience lately.

Warning:

We don’t use lately as an adjective:

We usually have a late lunch.

Not: … a lately lunch.

(“Late or lately ?” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

kick off

the time when a game of football starts, or when it begins again after it has stopped because of a goal, etc.

Word of the Day

She’s got very good posture. (How we stand and sit)

by Liz Walter,
May 27, 2015
Recently on this blog, we looked at the words that we use to describe the way we move. This week we’re looking at words for describing our bodies when they are still, whether we are standing or sitting. Since most of us do far too much of this, let’s start with sitting.

Read More 

ancestral health noun

May 25, 2015
diet based on the presumed diet of our Palaeolithic ancestors ‘Ancestral health,’ to use a term popular among Paleo followers, has gone mass.

Read More