I am reading the grammar book - A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language - these days. And now I am focusing on the 2 aspects - perfective and progressive - in Chapter 4: The semantics of the verb phrase.

Page 193 4.4

The third connotation, that the result of the action still obtains, applies to dynamic conclusive verbs (cf 4.33-5), ie verbs whose meaning implies the accomplishment of a change of state:

The apples have all been eaten.

My mother has recovered from her illness.

Have any of the visitors arrived?

Page 212 1st paragraph

Because of its resultative meaning, the simple perfective cannot be used with accomplishment verbs when the clause contains an adverbial of duration:

They've been repairing the road for months.

*They've repaired the road for months.

The above are 2 quotes from the book. Does these mean that dynamic conclusive/resultative verbs in simple perfective cannot work with duration adverbial?

  1. *I have written the book for 2 years.

  2. *I have cooked the dinner for 2 hours.

  3. *I have eaten the food for 30 minutes.

So the sentences 1,2 and 3 above are wrong, aren't they?

What about these sentences?

  1. ?I have written on the table for 10 years.

  2. ?I have written 5 books for the past 10 years.

  3. ?I have repaired cars for 10 years.

Can above sentences 4, 5 and 6 be interpreted as HABIT (ie recurrent event) IN A PERIOD LEADING UP TO THE PRESENT?

What about other durative verbs?

  1. ?It has rained for 2 days.

  2. My English has really improved since I moved to Australia.

I know that these durative sense verbs in perfective progressive work well with duration adverbial. It can mean both complete and incomplete.

  1. I have been writing on the table.
  2. I have been writing on the table for 10 years.

  3. It has been raining.

  4. It has been raining for 2 days.

The purpose of the question is to test my assumptions as follows:(roughly, it's a kind of framework for me to understand the relations among verbs, tenses and aspects and of course, there are exceptions.)

  1. Durative sense verbs works well with progressive since both have the feature of duration.

  2. Due to the meaning of accomplishment of dynamic durative verbs(esp. conclusive verbs), present perfect tends to imply the action already came to an end before now. They typically cannot work with duration adverbial in present perfect.

  3. If an action of durative sense started in the past and it continued to present, whether it is completed now or will still continue further, perfective progressive is the most appropriate. Both with or without duration adverbial are fine.

  • 8 is fundamentally different from the others, using since instead of for. Since does not emphasise the durative aspect of the clause, but simply sets it in a time frame that has a specific beginning point, so it is not incompatible with the simple perfective, and 8 is thus perfectly normal. 7 is also perfectly fine, though I’m not sure exactly why; perhaps because weather verbs are inherently somewhat progressive in nature. You can force 4 and 6 into habitual meanings, but even for that you’d be much more likely to use the progressive. And 5 can’t be habitual at all. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 8 '18 at 21:55
  • Sentence 5 is, at best, ambiguous. It could mean that the person has written a total of five books or a total of 50 books, but in both cases the sentence is not colloquial. Better versions, which are both more colloquial and clearer are: "I have written 5 books over the last 10 years" (a total of 5 books) "I have written 5 books in the last 10 years" (again a total of 5 books) and "I have written 5 books a year for the last 10 years" (a total of 50 books). Only the last interpretation could be described as expressng a habit, and the level of output seems unlikely. – BoldBen Aug 9 '18 at 6:45
  • @BoldBen How about these 2 sentences: I have read the Bible everyday for the past 10 years. I have written the book every weekend for the past 2 years. I think these sound more like a HABIT. – kevin4fly Aug 9 '18 at 8:06
  • @kevin. I think you could get away with that in spoken English. But grammatically it would be better to say 'I've been writing my book every weekend for the past 2 years'. – S Conroy Aug 9 '18 at 19:50
  • 1
    @kevin4fly, are you taking on too much, too soon? Three concerns each broadly relate to 12 examples; addressing even half the most obvious permutations there will take… a lot of space, even if we didn't start with how much more it matters in this context that you really don't want to say "I am reading the (anything) these days". That describes a habit, as “I m reading (books) these days.” Confusing the issue, “I’m reading the Bible/Koran/Torah these days” almost certainly does describe a habit, even though purely by reference to a single title. Before going on, is that much clear, please? – Robbie Goodwin Aug 12 '18 at 16:41

Context matters. Compare:

  1. Who appointed him a Vice President in 1970?

I have appointed the Vice Presidents since 1960.

  1. Why are you qualified to appoint Vice Presidents?

I have been appointing Vice Presidents since 1960.

It's a bit like "less" vs. "fewer." If one is referring to a set of discrete acts over time, the present perfect works. If one is describing an ongoing activity or responsibility, an imperfect (in English, the periphrastic progressive) is a better choice.

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