We focus on JET plasmas in which ELMs are triggered by pellets in the presence of ELMs which occur naturally. We perform direct time domain analysis of signals from fast radial field coils and toroidal full flux azimuthal loops. These toroidally integrating signals provide simultaneous high time resolution measurements of global plasma dynamics and its coupling to the control system. We examine the time dynamics of these signals in plasmas where pellet injection is used to trigger ELMs in the presence of naturally occurring ELMs. Pellets whose size and speed are intended to provide maximum local perturbation for ELM triggering are launched at pre-programmed times, without correlation to the occurrence times of intrinsic ELMs. Pellet rates were sufficiently low to prevent sustained changes of the underlying plasma conditions and natural ELM behaviour. We find a global signature of the build-up to natural ELMs in the temporal analytic phase of both the full flux loops and fast radial field coil signals. Before a natural ELM, the signal phases align to the same value on a _2–5 ms timescale. This global build up to a natural ELM occurs whilst the amplitude of the full flux loop and fast radial field coil signals are at their background value: it precedes the response seen in these signals to the onset of ELMing. In contrast these signals do not clearly phase align before the ELM for ELMs which are the first to occur following pellet injection. This provides a direct test that can distinguish when an ELM is triggered by a pellet as opposed to occurring naturally. It further supports the idea [ 1 – 4 ] of a global build up phase that precedes natural ELMs; pellets can trigger ELMs even when the signal phase is at a value when a natural ELM is unlikely to occur.