English for B2 Students/Unit 8

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The film had already started when we arrived[edit]

Aim of this lesson: Learn about and use the Past Perfect and understand the difference between the tense and Past Simple. Vocabulary that will be taught is related to cinema.

Speaking about films[edit]

Work with a partner, if you can, and ask/answer these questions. If you're on your own you should think about these questions and write your answers instead.

  • What's your favourite kind of film?
  • What films have you seen this year?
  • Who is your favourite male or female actor?
  • What's the best film you've ever seen?
  • Do you prefer watching films at home or at the cinema?

Grammar - Past Perfect[edit]

Past perfect is used in English to indicate that an event occurred before another past event.

Lowry Centre, Salford Quays, United Kingdom

English for B2 students Grammar • Unit 8
Past Perfect Flag of the United Kingdom.png

Form Example
+ positive subject + had + past participle I had just eaten dinner when the phone rang.
- negative subject + hadn't (had not) + past participle I hadn't started making dinner when the electricity went off
 ? questions had + subject + past participle Had you ever worked in a bar before getting this job?
  • It is very unusual to use past perfect on its own. This tense is almost always used with past simple or another tense as you can see in the examples above.
  • the negative form of the past perfect isn't very common
  • "I had just eaten dinner when the phone rang" - first I ate dinner and then the phone rang.

Further examples of past simple and past perfect[edit]

  • How many hours had you slept for when your alarm clock went off this morning?
  • My mother was angry because I had crashed her car.
  • She didn't realise that she had forgotten her credit card until she got to the cash machine.
  • I had only walked 100 metres when it started raining.

Vocabulary - Entertainment[edit]

Look at the table below. Do you know the correct definitions for this vocabulary related to cinema? Click on the 'show' button on the right for the correct answers.

English for B2 students Vocabulary • Unit 8
Cinema - Rearrange the Definitions Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Cinema vocabulary Definition
set (verb) music of a film.
scene (noun) type of film, e.g. horror, sci-fic, comedy.
soundtrack (noun) a specific part of a film.
genre (noun) the main actors and co-actors of a film.
star (noun and verb) describes where a film is located and the time it is.
English for B2 students Vocabulary • Unit 8
Cinema - Correct Answers Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
Cinema vocabulary Definition
set (verb) describes where a film is located and the time it is.
scene (noun) a specific part of a film
soundtrack (noun) music of a film.
genre (noun) type of film, e.g. horror, sci-fic, comedy
star (noun and verb) the main actors and co-actors of a film.

Exercises[edit]

Try these questions to see if you know how to use past simple and past perfect correctly. The answers can be found here.

Complete the following sentences using the verb in brackets in the correct form:

  1. The burglars ____________ (escape) when the police __________ (arrive).
  2. When she __________ (arrive), the party ____________ (finish).
  3. When they __________ (get) to the hospital, she __________ (give) birth.
  4. Before we __________ (come) to London, we __________ (live) in 10 different cities.
  5. He __________ (be) on a plane, so he __________ (be) tired.

Grammar Reference[edit]

For further information about using past perfect and past simple see Tenses and Forms.


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AimsUnit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4Unit 5Unit 6Test 1

Unit 7Unit 8Unit 9Unit 10Unit 11Unit 12Test 2