I saw this fill in the blanks question in my exam:
Before we ___ our meal, he ___ us back to work.
There were four options to this question:
- finished, had ordered
- have finished, ordered
- had finished, had ordered
- had finished, ordered
As per my intuition, in a past perfect tense, 'had' is used before an event that happened before another event in past. The way this sentence is structured, 'it looks like the order was given before the meal was finished', so I chose option 1, but the correct answer as per the examiner was 4.
The reasoning given for option 4 was:
As per the sentence, it does not necessarily mean that the order was given before the meal began.
Even though the order was issued first in the chronology of sentence, the eating of meal began first in the real world chronology. So had is used before finished.
The reasoning given in the answer key of the exam does not make any sense to me, because when did the meal began should not matter here.
What are your thoughts about it?