I would like to ask about the adverbial particle "away" meaning continuity or repetitiveness (i.e. not a location, a distance, a change of position etc.).
When used with some atelic verbs, the meaning is "continually, steadily". This part is quite clear to me.
Over the past couple years we worked away on the car in my spare time.
We sat and chatted away till midnight.
The result seems different when away is used with short action verbs, it sounds almost exclusively as "repeatedly" to me. Taking a series of actions somehow differs from going on.
All that can be seen is the silhouette of Macbeth as he stabs away with his dagger.
This reddish-brown bird blends in with the leaves that litter the ground as it pecks away, looking for insects.
No one says a word to me as I bang away on the keyboard.
These feathers serve to brace the woodpecker as it hammers away.
While he rechecked the instruments, getting ready for the afternoon's studies, he licked away at his ice cream cone.
It requires many peck to feed oneself, it would be hard to eat a cream cone with one lick, killing a king requires several stabs.
So, is there such a strict line between the two meanings or is it just me?