Lately for Late.
Don’t say: Last night I went to bed lately.
Say: Last night I went to bed late.
The opposite of early is late, not lately. Lately means in recent times: haven’t been there lately.
Scarcely for Rarely.
Don’t say: Zoe scarcely comes to see me now.
Say: Zoe rarely comes to see me now.
Scarcely isn’t synonymous with rarely. Rarely means not often, scarcely means not quite: had scarcely finished when he came.
Presently for At
Don’t say: His uncle is in London presently.
Say: His uncle is in London at present.
At present and presently are not synonymous. At present means now, but presently means soon: She will come back presently (= soon).
Just now for Presently
Don’t say: The messenger will arrive just now.
Say: The messenger will arrive presently.
If we are speaking of a near and immediate future time, we must use presently, immediately, in a minute, or soon Just now refers to present or past time, and not to future time: He’s not at home just now (= at this moment). He left just now (= a little time ago).
Hardly for Hard.
Don’t say: She rubbed her eyes hardly.
Say: She rubbed her eyes hard.
Hard means severely. Hardly means not quite or scarcely: The baby can hardly walk.
No so for Not very.
Don’t say: I hear that he’s not so rich.
Say: I hear that he’s not very rich.
We can’t use not so in the sense of not very. The expression He’s not so rich implies a comparison: He’s nor so rich as you are.
Before for Ago.
Don’t say: I saw your friend before two weeks.
Say: I saw your friend two weeks ago.
We use ago in counting from the time of speaking to a point in the past; half an hour ago, three days ago, four months ago, five years ago, a long time ago.
We use before in counting from a distant to a nearer point in the past. Napoleon died in 1821, he had lost the battle of Waterloo six years before.
Note: When we use ago, the verb is always in the simple past tense: He came five minutes ago .
Too much for Very
Don’t say: She likes the cinema too much. He’s too much stronger than I am.
Say: She likes the cinema very much. He’s very much stronger than I am.
Use very much instead of much for greater emphasis. Too much denotes an excessive quantity or degree: She ate too much, and felt ill.
Very and Much.
Don’t say: He’s a much strong man. It’s a much interesting book.
Say: He’s a very strong man. It’s a very interesting book.
Don’t say: He’s very stronger than I am.
Say: He’s much stronger than I am.
Use very with adjectives and adverbs in the positive, and with present participles used as adjectives like interesting. Use much with comparatives.
Very and Too.
Don’t say: It’s too hot in Rome in the summer.
Say: It’s very hot in Rome in the summer.
Don’t say: It’s now very hot to play football.
Say: It’s now too hot to play football.
Very simply makes the adjective or adverb stronger. Too means more than enough, or so much that something else happens as a result.