1

How should I say I found a shirt in a drawer and i remembered I put it away three years ago but I'm gonna use it from now on.

  1. The shirt has slept in a drawer for three years.

  2. The shirt has been sleeping in a drawer for three years.

  3. The shirt had slept in a drawer for three years.

  4. The shirt had been sleeping in a drawer for three years.

  • Is the shirt still in the drawer? – user178049 Dec 11 '16 at 4:41
  • No, I put it out to use from today. – 祐一浅野 Dec 11 '16 at 5:10
1

The only problem with your sentences is that shirts, being inanimate, do not "sleep",
but it is a very poetic way of saying it

2) The shirt has been in a drawer for three years.
4) The shirt had been in a drawer for three years.

either #2 or #4 are correct.

Present perfect (#2) implies the shirt will go back to the drawer.
Past perfect (#4) implies the shirt will "live" some place else.

  • Thank you for reply. Clear. But I'd like to use sleep even if it's poetic way so that I can distinguish the difference of pp and progressive. So which is good? – 祐一浅野 Dec 11 '16 at 4:45
  • In that case, any are good, the only difference is "has" vs "had". – Peter Dec 11 '16 at 5:06
  • -1 for the misleading statement that inanimate objects cannot sleep. sleep (v.) - To lie or remain dormant; remain inactive or unused; be latent; be or appear quiet or quiescent; repose quietly: as, the sword sleeps in the scabbard. – J.R. Dec 11 '16 at 12:39
  • @J.R. I believe the inanimate use of "sleep" is covered by "poetic way of saying it", which personification can be. Do you "put your clothes to sleep" after washing and folding them? – Peter Dec 11 '16 at 16:30
  • I wouldn’t tell a learner that’s a “problem.” And while I wouldn’t “put my clothes to sleep” after laundering them, if someone was rummaging through a dresser and ran across a t-shirt that hadn’t been worn for some time, I wouldn’t have a “problem" if they said something along the lines of, “This shirt has been sleeping in the dresser for awhile.” I’d call such a usage more figurative than poetic. – J.R. Dec 11 '16 at 19:01
0

First off, the use of the verb "lie" is more appropriate.

The context of the sentence indicates thar you are talking about an action that started in the past and continues up to the present. Besides, you start using the shirt today - in the present. So you say:

The shirt has lain in a drawer for three years, or

The shirt has been lying in a drawer for three years.

On the other hand, if you found the shirt in the past (say yesterday) and started using it in the past, you say:

The shirt had lain /had been lying in a drawer for three years.

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