I am having difficulty in distinguishing between these time words.
I ate my meal earlier/recently/lately.
When to use earlier, recently, and lately? What if I've done an action a few minutes ago? What will be the appropriate word?
I ate my meal earlier.
means you ate your meal before that time, in the same day.
I ate my meal recently.
means you ate your meal before that time but not long ago.
But I would not say it is a normal usage in this example.
I ate my meal lately.
means on some past occasion(s). But the past time frame is not specific.
Again I would not say it is a normal usage in this example. But some additional context would make it more natural. For example:
I have been going to work lately, even though I didn't want to.
As for what happened "a few minutes ago", I would say:
I just ate my meal.