A number of people tend to get confused about when to use “as of late” and “lately,” leading them to think that these two phrases can be used interchangeably.
We can surely avoid these errors if we know the right way to use the expressions “lately” and “as of late” as well as how to tell them apart.
Ready or not, let’s begin.
What is the difference between “as of late” and “lately”?
Both “as of late” and “lately” are adverbs of time used to describe “recent” events, hence useful in news writing. Although both suggest the same meaning, “as of late” bears a more formal or “fancier” connotation than “lately.” Generally, “lately” is a more popular word choice than “as of late.”
Key differences between “as of late” and “lately”
Although “lately” and “as of late” suggest the same meaning, there are some subtle differences between the two.
“As of late” is something that would more likely be used instead of “lately” when the goal of the speaker or writer is to sound more formal.
“Lately,” on the other hand, is something we would notice when the speaker or writer aims to sound less prim and proper, making it a more common choice than “as of late.”
“Late” in “as of late” is an adjective – something that modifies a noun or pronoun. On the other hand, “lately” is an adverb and as such it modifies a verb or another adverb.
In a nutshell, you can use “as of late” and “lately” when we describe some event that happened not long ago.
However, if we compare the two expressions, we can meanwhile understand that “as of late” is just a fancier way of saying “lately.”
“As of late” vs. “lately” difference in semantics (meaning)
“As of late” may refer to actions or events that happened a while past or that are still continuing to happen in the relative present.
“As of late” and “lately” are both used to answer the question “just when?” when describing events and observations.
However, we can understand that there is a certain nuance denoted by using each expression in real life.
This nuance is related to the formality level denoted by each expression as well as the contexts in which each is better used.
“As of late” is something we might observe in more formal writing contexts such as academic and business correspondence.
On top of those, “as of late” is also suitable in formal speeches, such as academic and business conversations.
That said, we can also understand that “lately” is something better reserved in more relaxed writing and speaking scenarios.
As another example, you can also observe this kind of difference when choosing between “though” and “although” in speaking and writing.
“As of late” vs. “lately” difference in grammar
The common denominator between “as of late” and “lately” is the word “late.” The way we use “late” as a separate word makes today’s issue tricky.
To find out what makes “as of late” and “lately” confusing, let us compare each expression to the word “late.”
Distinguishing “as of late” vs. “late”
“As of late” capitalized on the word “late” – a word with multiple meanings that also belongs in two different parts of speech categories.
“Late” is both an adverb and an adjective. As an adverb, it could either mean “after the agreed time” or “toward the end of a certain period.”
However, the complete phrase “as of late” is used differently from “late.” Hence, we cannot simply use “late” as a substitute for “as of late” if we mean to say “recently.”
Looking at the examples, we also cannot use “as of late” as a convenient substitute for “late” if we mean to say “not on time.”
To add, the word order used in “as of late” is also noticed in other related time phrases like “as of the moment” and “as of now.”
By the way, there is also an insanely interesting way to distinguish “as of now” from “as for now” in English.
“As of now” is used to mean “at this moment,” while “as for now” is something that means “to start with.”
Don’t get confused with these two expressions too to make your written and spoken work more meaningful and grammatically accurate.
Distinguishing “lately” vs. “late”
“Lately” is an adverb of time that tells us that the activity was done recently. On this note, “lately” is also not entirely the same as “late.”
“Late” is also not just a practical alternative for “lately” if we mean to say “recently,” such as in the examples below.
If we mean the other way around, specifically to say that someone did not arrive on time, there is also no way to just easily use “lately” instead of “late.”
(correct) We got here late because of the snow.
To put things in perspective, we have to avoid using the word “lately” if we want to write an apology letter for being “late” at work or school.
On the other hand, we also need to avoid using “late” if we only mean to say “recently” or “not long ago,” such as when describing a recent piece of news.
Distinguishing “as of late” vs. “lately”
As of late” is not a difficult phrase to bear in mind. Present-time usage of this is whenever or wherever you would like to use words like “recently” or “these days.”
But, there would be more value to using and choosing “as of late” instead of “late” in more formal or serious discussions, such as discussing world issues.
To avoid confusion and mistakes, stick with using “lately” when you have to describe events in the recent past in more casual conversations, such as chatting with friends.
As of lately
When we don’t exactly know how certain English expressions work in real life, we might end up mixing things up.
This situation can be observed in the use of “as of lately,” which is apparently incorrect, grammatically speaking.
“As of late” is already considered formulaic and stiff by many, so it would be best to steer clear of “as of lately” – that would be quite an overkill.
When we combine “as of” and “lately,” the resulting expression does not make any more sense.
Although there are a few tracks on web pages of people using “as of lately”, this expression is grammatically invalid.
It can be either “as of late” or “lately” but not a combination of the two.
(correct) As of late, there have been quite a lot of issues in the country.
(correct) Lately, there have been quite a lot of issues in the country.
“As of” is a bound expression, meaning it needs to be attached to another word to function correctly.
It is usually attached to a more specific adverb of time, like “now,” “today,” “the moment,” “2023,” “January 13,” “6 a.m.,” and so on.
The usage of “as of” combined with a specific time expression provides a periodic sense that helps us in telling time.
The tricky part of using “as of” is that it may suggest multiple meanings, such as “since,” “on,” or “from.”
“As of” means “since” in the following sentence:
Meanwhile, “as of” means “on” in the next example:
But, notice that “as of” means “from” here:
This amendment is effective as of 10th August 2023.
If make a rule out of the sentences above, verbs expressed in the present perfect tense like “has been” tend to make use of “as of” which means “since.”
On the other hand, verbs that are expressed in the future tense like “shall” suggest “as of” which means “on.”
Whereas, verbs that are in the simple present tense like “is” denotes the meaning “from,” as in the third example.
What we know of as the “simple present tense” entails a lot of interesting nuances, like the fact that it is not even technically called “tense” but rather “aspect.”
Read more about this in our previous post: Writing in the Simple Present Tense – Here’s All You Need to Know
Frequently Asked Questions on “As of the late” and “Lately”
What does “as of recently” mean?
The phrase “as of recently” denotes a certain or specific period of time close to the relative present. When we say “as of recently,” we mean to say that something is said or done and remains true at the time of speaking or writing.
What is the synonym for “as of late?”
Some casual synonyms for “as of late” are “recently,” “lately,” “latterly,” “newly,” “freshly,” and “not long ago.” Meanwhile, some more formal ways of saying “as of late” are “in recent years,” “in the recent past,” and “over the last few years.”
Is “late” an adverb of time?
“Late” is both an adverb and an adjective used to refer to time. “Late,” as an adjective, is the opposite of “early” or “punctual.” As an adverb, late, means “not on time” or “behind the expected schedule.” As an adverb of time, “late” is used as a stand-alone word and does not come before a noun.
After we have studied this, we are now quite certain that we understood and learned how to differentiate and use “as of late” and “lately” in our sentences.
This will add more to our confidence level when we speak or write and even boost our capabilities to aim for higher goals in life.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.