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

When you use 'spent' without had, it gets equated with the time when you visited i.e. last summer

I don't understand how it is possible in that case to write this first sentence without had, how it is possible that "spent gets equated with the time when you visited i.e. last summer" first you spent your childhood then you visited ,for me visited can't get equated with the time when you visited. Can somebody explain it to me

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No, using spent without had does not equate your growing up time and your visit. They both happened in the past, but it is not implied that those two things happened at the same time. The same grammar is used if the second verb happened at the same time or before

Before (probably, although I guess you could grow up during your visit):

Last summer I visited Chicago, where I grew up.

At the same time:

Last summer I went to Spain, where I ate Spanish food.

You have to infer from context which event came first if it is not explicitly stated. Actually in your example "where I spent my childhood" is pretty explicit in indicating that this happened before you visited.

We use had with the trees because something happened up to a certain time in the past. The trees grew and grew and grew and by the time I visited, the had become large. On the other hand, I did spend my childhood there, but I was not spending my childhood there at the time I visited.

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  • On the other hand, I did spend my childhood there, but I was not spending my childhood there at the time I visited so what do you mean by that had could be possible to emphasize that the childhood was completed and over for a long time – user5577 Dec 29 '17 at 21:48

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