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置いている : Depending on context, this can mean something like present progressive "being placed" or a completed state "have been placed".

置いてある : This is to refer to the resultant state of the item being placed

置いておく : This is to refer to doing the verb, in this case, placing something as preparation for the future

部屋の隅に机を置いています

In this case, does this sentence mean "A table has been placed at the corner of the room"?

And if I were to use 置いてある or 置いておく respectively, do they actually mean the same thing as "A table has been placed at the corner of the room" but with different nuance mentioned earlier at the start of the post?

To be clear, the verb, 置く, is confusing for me in this sense as I read that the example sentence I gave could also mean "There is a table at the corner of the room", if 置いている is used. Does it apply to the other two too?

  • Does this answer your question? How ~てある and ~ておいた differs? – istrasci Apr 3 at 2:33
  • @istrasci I had a look at the link, but my confusion lies in the use of ている, ておく, てある specifically when used in the verb, 置く. The difference in nuance as well as the questions mentioned in the post. – DK4739 Apr 3 at 2:36
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For me,「置いて」is composed of the conjugation(連用形) of「置く」+ 「て」: conjunctive particle and is combined to the auxiliary verbs:「いる」,「ある」,「おく」rather than 「置く→置い」+「ている」,「てある」,「ておく」.

I hope I can clarify the difference between the auxiliary verbs with the following analysis:

  • 部屋の隅に机を置いています

This sentence says the author places their desk at the corner of the room due to some reasons such as their layout preference or the corner is only space to fit in, etc. It's talking about the author results in the state of "There is the desk at the corner" by the action of「置く」rather than mentioning the action :「置く」having been/being completed.

  • 部屋の隅に机が置いてある

This sentence says the author reports the desk is placed at the corner of the room. Without some more contexts, what the author wants to focus on is ambiguous.

  • 部屋の隅に机を置いておく

This sentence says the author is placing the desk at the corner of the room for some purposes such as making space to invite people to the meeting room, etc. or leaving the desk alone at the corner of the room in order to vacuum the area the desk occupies, etc.

Regarding「置いておく」, I think it's bit difficult to distinguish "preparation" and "leave alone" sometimes and the context makes its meaning clearer.

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  • If "置いています" is referring more to the state and less of the action itself being completed, what is the difference between the use of てある and ている since the former also has a nuance of referring to the resultant state of the verb. – DK4739 Apr 4 at 14:15
  • @DK4739「置く 」itself mainly implies "make things stable at some location and stops its motion". So, I think「置いている」 tends to describe more to the resultative state than the progress of the action. It basically depends on the verb. With「貸す」,「銀行はお金を貸している」normally means resultative state : "Banks lend the money to the clients as a service." unless you are actually seeing the progressive scene of lending money in the bank. Regarding「置いてある」, the author simply describes the resultative state the desk is placed at the corner of the room. – kimi Tanaka Apr 4 at 15:38

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