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Hi,

I would like to ask about two sentences I've recently encountered in test.

1.)We had expected that they ___ fluent English, but in fact they didn’t.

A The correct option was "would speak". But I don't know why It can not be "spoke" as well.

B I assume that past perfect is optional and it would suffice to use past simple.

C If I transform this sentence into present time except the second part(but in fact ...) It will look like this:
We expect that they (will) speak fluent English. - is it OK? Can I use "we are expecting"?

2.)What ___ this weekend, Peter?

Would it be OK, in terms of grammar, If I say "will you do"? The correct option was  "are you doing" which is definetly OK with me.  But in my opinion, this question is related to the future events so It should be possible and acceptable to use "will you do" as well. 

I would be grateful If you answer any of these questions.  I'm interested in answers from a grammatical point of view. I'm not looking for the most appropriate options.

Thank you very much
Martin 
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Hello Martin,

1. We had expected that they spoke fluent English, but in fact they didn't.

2. ?We expected that they spoke fluent English, but in fact they didn't.

3. We had expected that they would speak fluent English, but in fact they didn't.

4. We expected that they would speak fluent English, but in fact they didn't.

I would accept #1 too: whereas "they would speak..." in #3 seems to refer to a particular incident, "that they spoke..." in #1 sounds like a general assessment.

Changing #1 to a present simple seems to remove that possibility, though: it sounds a little odd.

On the other hand, changing #3 to a present simple sounds fine. Perhaps some speakers would prefer an "object + infinitive" structure:

5. We expected them to speak fluent English.

Best wishes,

MrP
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Hi Martin,

We had expected that they would speak fluent English, but in fact they didn’t.

To my ear, it means that we expected that they would speak fluent English during a particular time in the future(like a meeting), which can be influenced by some extralinguistic factors (for example, when someone is intoxicated they usually have problems speaking fluently Emotion: smile )

We had expected that they spoke fluent English, but in fact they didn’t.

Here, we expected that they were fluent speakers in general, not on a particular occasion, but it turned out later that in fact they were not.

So both should be correct, I think, but their meanings are different. And I would stick to Past Perfect in this case.

As far as your second question is concerned, "what are you doing this weekend" is a natural way of asking somebody about their plans for the nearest future, whereas questions about future put in Future Simple are not so neutral. For example:

Will you help me (asking sb a favour, not asking if they are willing to help)
Will you come to me (invitation rather than asking about their plans)

Michal