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I have climbed a mountain and I have reached the top, but I am exhausted. Should I say:

"I am exhausted because I have just climbed a mountain", meaning I have reached the top and therefore the action has been completed, there is an ending or

"I am exhausted because I have been climbing a mountain", meaning I am focussing on the duration of the activity and the effort even though I have reached the top.

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I am exhausted because I have been climbing a mountain.

doesn't necessarily imply you have reached the top. All it says is that the extended activity of climbing the mountain made you tired.

  • You might exaggerate it after having climbed the base for 10 minutes and given up due to your poor physique and low stamina.

  • You might say it while taking a short no-hand rest somewhere on the way to the peak.

  • You might say it while sitting on the top.

whereas

I am exhausted because I have just climbed a mountain.

clearly emphasises the result of your endeavour. You've reached the mountaintop.

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