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"Mr. Cattanzara spread the rumor and thus, George gained respect from the neighbors." Is it supposed to be "...had spread..."?

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2 Answers

Use of the past perfect in the example sentence is not necessary because the sequence of events is clear without it.  The word "thus" means "as a result or consequence of" and that word does the job of explaining the relationship between the two actions.  First a rumor was spread; as a result, respect was gained.  There is nothing mysterious about the time order of the two actions.  
Hello Qugh,
 
In conversational English, the sentence above is fine.  However, for an ESL exam, I would use "had spread" (the past perfect tense).
 
Past Perfect tense is used when you have 2 actions in the past.  The 1st action (chronologically) gets the Past Perfect tense, the 2nd action (chronologically) gets the simple Past tense.  What matters is when the actions took place, not where in the sentence they appear.
 
So, in this example, the rumor was spread 1st, then respect was gained.  So, "had spread" would be best for the purpose of an ESL test.  Here's another example that could help you:
"Before I went to the meeting, I had prepared the report."
 
Paul L.