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Getting ready for the test I found this task

The lucky coincidence allowed them to take a trip together and Angela loved traveling! More than that, she ________ (prepare) a list of the most desirable destinations. It was all written on her tablet and it was time to start making those dreams come true!

The key states that Past Perfect should be used there but I'm wondering why. I understand that maybe the result is emphasized there but I can't see any certain evidence for that.

My question for native speakers is whether it is grammatically correct to simply use Past Simple in the abstract given?

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In this context it's grammatical. However it doesn't work well with, "More than that", which implies this statement flows from the previous statement. There is a relationship between taking a trip and preparing a list -- it sounds better to say that, before they started on the trip, Angela had prepared a list of destinations.

Another example:

The boys were ready to set out on their camping trip. John had prepared the map to their destination, Robert had made sure they had enough supplies, and Ted had checked that their equipment was in good order.

It would not be wrong to use the simple past if you were just narrating the events of the story. However here the perfect tense indicates all these actions were complete before they were ready to start on the trip.

  • I see your point, thanks. But it seems to me that the events sequence goes this way: 1) They went travelling; 2) She was happy to have such experience, so she created the list; 3) the list was in the tablet. Am I right? I thinks so because of the last sentence "time to start making those dreams (her plans about future destinations) come true. – Vladimir Nazarenko May 13 '18 at 18:41
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    No, she created the list first, before traveling. My guess is that haven't started traveling yet (although the sentence isn't entirely clear on that point). However, you may be confused since the incident that allowed them to take the trip happened in the past. Unfortunately this example relies as much on logical nuances as it does on grammar -- and is also complicated since it's a backshifted narration of an event. – Andrew May 13 '18 at 18:48
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(1)"The lucky coincidence allowed them to take a trip together and Angela loved traveling!": I think the correct must be in PAST PERFECT+PAST SIMPLE.

Example: "The lucky coincidence HAD allowed them to take a trip together and Angela LOVED traveling!"

(2)"More than that, she ________ (prepare) a list of the most desirable destinations.": I think the correct must be in PAST SIMPLE.

Example: "More than that, she PREPARED a list of the most desirable destinations."

(3)"It was all written on her tablet and it was time to start making those dreams come true!" I think the correct must be in PAST SIMPLE+PAST SIMPLE.

Example: "It WAS all written on her tablet and it WAS time to start making those dreams come true!"

Timeline: (1)p.p+p.s (2)p.s (3)p.s+p.s

In short, PAST PARTICIPLE always must be in the sentence that indicate something happened before other event, and PAST SIMPLE gets in the next event. Obviously, all events needs happened in the past.

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