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Hi. Would you say that a past perfect tense is needed here and it is not optional in that both past and past perfect tenses could be used?

When the men were returning home, after they had spent eight hours at work, their wives would wait for them.
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AnonymousWould you say that a past perfect tense is needed here and it is not optional
No. I would not say that.

Additionally, it would be more idiomatic to say it like this:

As the men were returning home after spending eight hours at work, their wives were waiting for them.

CJ
Comments  
Thank you. Would you find this sentence of mine in the past tense and not in the past perfect tense correct? Let us put aside the issue of being idiomatic or not. Thank you.

When the men were returning home, after they had spent spent eight hours at work, their wives would wait for them.