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1) For the last six months I have been working on the thesis.

2)For the last six months I have worked on the thesis.

I know that first sentence is correct. It means I started working six months back and i am working even now in the sixth month.

But my book is saying second sentence is wrong.Can't we use second to mean _ For the last six months (till now six months are completed), I worked on the thesis (I have just stopped working recently) ?

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No, you shouldn't use the Present Perfect tense with the adverbial of duration within such context. If it were the sentence He knows Italian very well because he has lived in Italy for six years, then the Present Perfect tense would be correct and possible.

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  • Could you please describe the difference in context between "I have worked for six months" and "I have lived in Italy for six months. – Ramteja Guthikonda Jun 16 at 9:24
  • The contextual difference between two sentences depends on the situational types of the verbal phrases. The verb work means making efforts to achieve something in the first sentence. It is a so called verb of accomplishment. The verb live is a so called verb of state in the second sentence. The Perfect Aspect tells us about some result. The result in the first sentence is some work done for some definite time period, that is why we need to use the Present Perfect Continuous in the first sentence. The result in the second sentence is, in essence, the time having been used only . – kngram Jun 16 at 14:50
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Both your sentences mean he has started working 6 months ago and is still working on the thesis. Verbs like "work" or "live" can be used this way. There is no difference in meaning, but the continuous is more common.

If the work on the thesis has stopped, you should use the past simple: I worked on the thesis for six months, for example if you started in January and finished in early June. The same applies to "live".

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