I have joined a grammar MOOC starting with an introduction to English tenses. One of the practice questions left me confused. The question is as follows:
Do these two sentences have similar meaning or different meaning?
- Julie has studied French for two years.
- Julie has been studying French for two years.
I'm not sure how similar is similar, but having a questionable sense of the language I think I should follow the rules. Grammar books state that Continuous tenses are designed to emphasise duration. If an author finds relevant to emphasise the duration, this semantic or emotional meaning is relevant to the reader.
Both of the sentences deliver information about the duration. I'm not sure if there exists any difference in connotation or the second sentence is an example of 'grammatical tautology'.