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I came across this in a grammar exercise, and I am fairly certain that the past simple would be better, but I want your opinion. The answer key gives me the past perfect, but I don't see the need for it.

PAST SIMPLE

  1. He went to see them in their offices, and as soon as he sat down, the two directors took out a map of the Singapore circuit.

PAST PERFECT

  1. He went to see them in their offices, and as soon as he had sat down, the two directors took out a map of the Singapore circuit.

To me, the past perfect is not necessary because the events are in order here and we aren't talking about an event that is out of order that happened before the main events. The past perfect seems a little clunky to me, especially because of the phrase "as soon as he..." which implies that the two past events occurred at about the same moment.

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    You are correct; the past perfect is neither needed nor wanted here. Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 1:57
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    @TinfoilHat: "Not needed", sure - though I wouldn't necessarily go so far as to say "Unwanted". For reasons that aren't easily summarised (something to do with whether the verb takes time to "complete", I think), I find the Perfect version more natural with had settled into his chair than with had sat down. But to me, it's at least "acceptable" with either verb. Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 10:53

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