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LATELY and RECENTLY are often confused as both adverbs have evolved to mean something in-between "within the recent past" and "nowadays/these days" but with a less specific form of time and "not so long ago" feel.

"I haven't watched any movies lately/recently."

The time span is vague for both terms, it could mean anywhere from days to weeks or even months — as long as you think it's a recent happening. 

"I've been seeing a lot of him recently/lately." 
"Lately/Recently, there has been a spike in people's interest in the Oxford comma."

If an action is habitual or repetitive and refers to ongoing state of affairs, either word is fine; in that case, "lately" and "recently" can be used interchangeably.

"Lately/Recently, I have been getting a lot of calls from this woman named Meg." 

But for unique actions or events, use "recently" instead of "lately" as the latter sounds awkward.

"I saw him recently, while I was out shopping."
"I recently got a phone from a woman named Meg. Do you know her?" (NOT I lately got)

Lately goes with states and activities, but NOT unique events. Recently goes with any of those — states, activities, or events. "I've been to London a lot recently/lately" is absolutely fine but you can't say "I lately wrote my grandmother" because it's a single event. 

"They have recently taken a German lesson."
"Lately/recently he's been going around with Miranda Watkins."

When used with the Present 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've recently been having problems with my car." (NOT I've lately been having)

When it comes to the Simple Past, "recently" sounds natural, while "lately" doesn't.

"I recently went to see my doctor."

Some users also:

1. point at a subtle difference between the adverbs. "Recently" just tells you about a time period, while "lately" tells you about a change that has happened. 

"Recently, I have been eating more fish. (focus on the period of time)
"Lately, I have been eating more fish." (focus on changing habits)

However, "recently" seems to work in sentences about change as well, esp. when it's a single event.

“We usually do our shopping at Safeway, but recently we stumbled on a smaller grocery store we like better.”

2. feel that "recently" implies being more recent, such as hours or days, whereas "lately" implies something happening within weeks or months. 

"I think recently denotes short duration , while lately refers to something that could be happening for long time."

For others though "recently" is used for something that happened within last months , while "lately", within last days or weeks. Go figure.

"My cousin had a baby recently."

The truth is, both could refer to days, weeks, or a few months; neither is ever likely to refer to years. 

"Jason hasn't called me recently/lately. He must be busy." 

3. find "recently" slightly more formal, which again seems to be a case of subjective perception, as the Ngram shows that since the 1870s there has been a noticeable decline in the use of "lately" and a corresponding rise in the use of "recently".

"I tend to use 'lately' when talking about myself and 'recently' when talking about things much larger than myself, like things happening in the US or the world or even my school." 

The verdict is: if you aren't sure whether to use "lately" or "recently", go for "recently" and the proper nuance will be conveyed. 

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