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How can I differentiate between the past indefinite and the past perfect? What is the difference between the following examples?

  1. I can't believe she ate my sandwich!
  2. I couldn't believe she had eaten my sandwich!

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I can't believe she ate my sandwich

Means that she ate your sandwich and now you can't believe it.

I couldn't believe she had eaten my sandwich

Means that she ate the sandwich and then you couldn't believe that. Both action(she ate the sandwich and you couldn't believe it) happened in the past but the action "she ate the sandwich" happened before the other action "you couldn't believe it".

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