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    #1

    past simple tense

    ---Where _____ you put my dictionary?
    ---I left it on your desk when you ____ to Tom.
    A. did...spoke B. have...were speaking

    The given answer is B. I thought A works well too. 'spoke' means 'began to speak'. Am I right?

    Could I ask native English teachers to help me? Thank you very much.


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    #2

    Re: past simple tense

    "did" and 'have' are both possible, but there is a slight difference in meaning between, "Where have you put my dictionary?" and "Where did you put my dictionary?" The tense used in the second sentence, the reply to the question in your example, determines that the correct choice is "have".

    Another way of constructing the second sentence which makes it clearer why 'were speaking" is correct, would be:
    I left it on your desk because you were busy speaking to Tom and I didn't want to interrupt you."

    I'm sure you have questions about this. Fire away. I'm sure you will generate a number of responses.
    Last edited by David L.; 20-Mar-2008 at 18:41.

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    #3

    Exclamation Re: past simple tense

    I think only 'have...were' is more appropriate. "Where have you put my dictionary?" "I left it on your desk when you were speaking to Tom."
    There is no definite time indication in the past as to when the action took place i.e. put the dictionary. So using past simple without definite time indication in the past, is simply inappropriate.

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