I am sure that you think the meaning of ‘最近'(zuì jìn) and ‘现在'(xiànzài) are as follows:
In fact, the meaning of these two words are subtle, ‘现在’ doesn’t just mean ‘now’, it also has the meaning of ‘currently’ or ‘at the present’. As for ‘最近’, what exactly the time period does it refer to? I can tell you that even native speakers, sometimes, can get confused.
Let’s have a look at some examples:
This sentence means: ‘I went to Beijing for several days recently.’ ‘最近’ refers to the time period before the speaker is talking. It is noticeable that ‘最近’ cannot be replaced with ‘现在’ in this sentence.
zuì jìn wǒ yào qù Běijīng wán liǎngtiān
Meaning: I will go to Beijing for several days soon. ‘最近’ refers to the time period after the speaker is talking.
In this sentence, ‘最近’ can be taken over from ‘现在’ here, but the meaning will be totally changed.
It means ‘I am going to Beijing for several days right now.‘ – I set off right now
Let’s see another example:
Xiànzài wǒ yào qù Shànghǎi kāihuì
In this sentence, ‘最近’ can be changed to ‘现在‘, but the meaning is also changed. If you say ‘最近’, it means ‘I will go to Shanghai in the next a few days‘, but not at the moment when you speak. If you change it to ‘现在'(xiànzài), it means ‘I go to Shanghai right now‘.
‘现在'(xiànzài) refers to the moment when you speak, let’s see this sentence.
xiànzài shì zhōngwǔ shíèr diǎnzhōng
This sentence means ‘Now it is 12 o’clock.’ Here, ‘现在'(xiànzài) cannot be replaced with ‘最近'(zuì jìn).
‘现在'(xiànzài) can also refer to the period of time before or after speaking, either long or short.
xiànzài de niánqīng rén shēnghuó zhēn shì xìngfú
Meaning: the life of nowaday’s young people is really happy.
‘最近’ refers to the short period of time before talking or after talking
‘现在’ refers to the moment when you are taking or the period of time before speaking, either long or short.
Please fill in the blanks with ‘最近’ or ‘现在’ in the following sentences
1. 过去这个地方是电影院，( ) 改成体育馆了。
2. ( ) 他身体有点不太舒服。
3. 这种老式的电脑 ( ) 已经很难见到了。