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Is sentence "This cup hadn't been drunk out of for twenty years precisely since its owner was exiled to Siberia." right?

I suppose no because it's not about up until point in past.

I think the right form is "This cup wasn't being drunk out of for twenty years precisely since its owner was exiled to Siberia."

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  • Do you mean the cups owner was exiled to Siberia 20 year before the present. Is "exile to Sibera" still a thing in 21st century Russia? It sounds very Stalinist. – James K Mar 24 '19 at 8:29
  • Do you mean the cups owner was exiled to Siberia 20 year before the present. - yes. Is "exile to Sibera" still a thing in 21st century Russia? - hah no. – srghma Mar 25 '19 at 7:39
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The past perfect is grammatically correct but may not be the meaning you intend.

Similarly the past continuous is grammatical, but the meaning is a little odd. It also means "for a period of time in the past". If you mean "for a period of time until the present" you should normally use the present perfect:

This cup hasn't been drunk out of for twenty years...

It may well be better to rephrase in the active voice

Nobody has drunk out of this cup for twenty years...

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  • Ok, present perfect is the best. Also I think I understand why past perfect is fine too - speaker means "for a period of time until the past (e.g. someone drunk from cup 1 week ago)" – srghma Mar 24 '19 at 8:13
  • @srghma That's right. – user3395 Mar 24 '19 at 11:43

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