In my classes, many times I have had to explain the difference between “recently” and “these days”, so that will be the subject for today’s blog entry.
The word “recently” is used to focus on the present moment and the recent past, but it does NOT focus on the future at all. The term “these days” is used to focus on the recent past, the present moment AND the near future. For example:
Recently, I’ve been working a lot of overtime at work.
I’ve recently found a fantasic new Italian restaurant downtown. We should go there sometime.
Recently, I saw the movie Star Wars for the first time. It was really good.
These days, I’m working a lot of overtime.
I don’t drink much beer these days. I’m trying to lose weight.
I’m studying English very hard these days. I want to get a high score on the TOEIC test.
So, because the word “recently” doesn’t focus on the future at all, it uses different verb tenses from “these days”. The word “recently” will use the present perfect (have + pp), the present perfect continuous (have been + ing form of a verb) or the simple past tense. On the other hand, “these days” will use the present continuous (be + ing form of a verb) or the simple present.