Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
And then we have examples like:

A: You are completely out of breath - What's the matter?
B. I have been running.

The running is over.

Some of this has to do with whether the situation dentoted by the verb is telic, i.e. having a terminal point beyond which continuation is not possible, or atelic, unbounded. Note that it is the situation, not the verb - write (atelic), write a novel (telic)

A lot of it has to do with the fact that languages are not rigidly laid out in separate compartments with absolute rules as to how elements in one compartment can be combined with elements in another.

Writers of grammar books do the best they can to give useful guidelines on how speakers use the language, but there are not as many absolutes as one might think. There is no firm line between correct usage of progressive and non-progressive forms, rather a fuzzy blur.

This appears unhelpful, but that is the situation. If you follow the 'rules'/advice/examples given in a reliable grammar, probably 99% of what you say will be acceptable, but you will still hear native speakers not following the rules, yet producing utterances that are perfectly acceptable.

Looking back through what bhaisahab, Raymott and I have written (have been writing?) in this thread, I see things that I suspect all of us might change slightly if we gave a few hours' more thought to it - and then change again if we had a few days. Try to accept that you will rarely find a definitive answer to all your questions. The consolation is what I wrote and italicised in the last paragraph.
I would add "might" and "probably" to this, as in the other example. 2. Jim and Harry have been building(have built) a friendship for the last 5 years. Have been building = The process of building is continuing. Have built = The process has finished.