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I have two sentences I don't know which variants to chose.

  1. The storm died down, the sky cleared and the sun was shining again.
  2. Last summer I visited places where I spent my childhood. The trees my father planted when I was a child turned into big tall trees.

The key says:

  1. had died down, had cleared.
  2. had spent, had planted.

Why? I think in the first sentences Past Simple goes quite well with that picture. Succession of past actions and it's obvious enough to that each action took place before another one. As for the second one, I just think I'm right. Childhood is a finished period of time (peculiar time).

Off topic: could I say "raved itself out" (I found it in vocabulary) instead of "died down"; "became brighter" instead of "cleared"; "are now big tall tress" instead of "turned into..." or in this case I should use Past Simple because of sequence of tenses.

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First off, the spelling of choose is, well.. choose.. chose becomes past tense.

In the sentences you posted,

The storm died down, the sky cleared and the sun was shining again.

The storm died down, the sky cleared and the sun shone again.

will be the correct sentence. 'Shining' is present continuous and all of this can't happen simultaneously. The sun will shine again after the storm has died... hence the suggestion of 'had died'.

Last summer I visited places where I spent my childhood. The trees my father planted when I was a child turned into big tall trees.

When you use 'spent' without had, it gets equated with the time when you visited i.e. last summer. Also, you should use had turned , otherwise the sentence implies that the trees turned into big tall tress right in front of your eyes!

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