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Hello,

I want to make sure I understand the meaning of these sentences well:

I think both of them are grammaticly correct, aren´t they?

1) I´m reading an interesting book this month.

2) I´ve read an interesting book this month.

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If I say "I´m reading an interesting book this month. (1)", it means: I´m still reading it, I haven´t finished it yet.

However, if I say I´ve read an interesting book this month." (2), it means: I´ve finished it or I do´nt read it any more. Am I right?

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However, not always is the action expressed by a verb in present perfect simple a finished action. Am I right?: (However, I would say the usage of present perfect simple in finished actions is more frequent, isn´t it?)

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X

I mean for example in these cases:

3) I´ve known him for 10 years. (I met him ten years ago, I knew him 10 years ago and I knew him also nine, eight....five... years ago and I still (!) know him now. (It is a different situation to me. I mean compared with sentence number two above. (X I´ve read an interesting book this month.)

Similar is:

4) I´ve had this car since 1995. (I still have it, It´s not finished. I still possess the car.)

5) I´ve been in London for two years/since 2000. (It means: I am still in London. It´s not finished. X However, If I say: "I´ve been to London." (I´ve visited London, however, I´m not there any more. It´s finished. Am I right? - So, it is similar to number two (I´ve read an interesting book this month.)

(Is it also correct to say only: I´ve been in London? - I think it isn´t correct.)

6) What about if I say?: I´ve lived in London for two years/since 2000.? (Do I still live in London or not any more? I would say - yes, I still live in London in those cases.

What about if I want to say: "I lived (was) in London for two years, or since 2000 and I don´t live in London any more".

I suggest this: I lived/was in London for two years/I was in London since 2000, but I´m living in New York now (or can I also say ...but I live in New York now. Grammar books usually say - I live in New York - It´s a permanent state and that´s why we use live - present simple. However, what about if I complete the sentence with now?)

Is there any genaral rule how to recognize if the actin expressed by the present perfect simple is a not finished action so that the student doesn´t have to learn the particular sentences mentioned above? I suggest this: The present perfect express a not completed, a not finished action if there is are some expressions which tell us "how long?". In those cases we usally use present perfect continuous, however, we couldn´t use it because it´s an non progressive verb. - Is this rule OK?

Thank you Mowgli
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Once the period of time you are referring to is over (i.e. "the first week of the month"), you can't use the present perfect, it's the past simple.
Comments  
I can comment more on this, but let's just look at 2 parts of your post.

"2) I´ve read an interesting book this month."

&

"4) I´ve had this car since 1995. (I still have it, It´s not finished. I still possess the car.)"

Present perfect has a start in the past and finish in the future. (1st of the month, 30th of the month). Today is the 20th. The emphasis is not on the action (being the same), but the possible reoccurence of the action.

I have missed the train 3 times this month, and I might miss the train again later this month.
I have had a hard time waking up since I got a new job working at the bar, and I might have a hard time again later this month.

In sentence 2, maybe you will read another interesting book later this week.
In sentence 4, maybe you will keep your car.

It doesn't matter the level of certainty, as long as it's not unlikely we will use present perfect to show the possibility is good for an act to repeat itself in the future. To say 2 is less certain than 4, then we would have to assume normally you wouldn't read 2 or more interesting books this month.

If you want to isolate 2 from 4, you need to show limit. A book has a sense of limit, but a car doesn't. The same can be said of a house, cold, flu, or computer. The time limit is not clear.

The pitcher has struck out every batter in this game.
The pitcher has had a winning streak since July.

So far, both statements can be stated, but the limit here is the end of the game for the first sentence. We aren't concerned about tomorrow's game, only today's game (this game).

In the second, we are only reporting what has happened up until now. We don't know if the pitcher's team will lose. Also, there is no limit. The winning streak could go on till the next game, and the game after.
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Hello,

thank you for your answer. I think it´s very helpful. There is a great difference in the usage of tense in my native language and English.

If I understand it well, the most important thing is the time reference. If I say "this month" I mean the month is not finished yet, so there is always a possibility that the action could repeat.

So it´s not possible to say:

XXXI read an interesting book this month.XXX

(because this month is still going on, we have till 10 days to the end of October. Today is the 21 of October.

However, I can probably say.

- I read an interesting book in the first week of this month.

(because the first weak of October 2005 is over and that´s why it´s not possible that I could repeat the reading of an interisting book in the first week of this month (it means: the first week of October 2005)

(Or should I decide which tense to use only according to the expression "this month") and use???: ???I have read an interesting book in the first week of this month.??? (Today is the 21 of October 2005)

I would prefer "I read an interesting book in the first week of this month."

Thank you very much Mowgli
 pieanne's reply was promoted to an answer.