B.E.L.L. Tips – Superheroes

B.E.L.L. Tips – Superheroes

Issue #76

English Tips for:

Business English Language Learners (B.E.L.L.)


I will send out some handy tips and useful exercises for adults learning to navigate and use the English language each week. Please feel free to share this newsletter with friends and colleagues.

Superheroes are an All-American invention, but they are recognized worldwide. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, species and genders. There are also anti-heroes and reluctant heroes. Some are aliens from another planet, others have had some sort of accidental scientific mishap, and some are self-created. They all have a driving force that motivates them to never give up and walk away.

Sometimes, when we are learning a new language, we can get frustrated and want to give up. That’s when we need to find our inner superhero and keep going.

Reading Tip

Language Level – C1/C2

This long but interesting article discusses why people love superhero movies and explores the deep competition between DC Comics (Batman) and Marvel (Ironman).


Listening Tip

Language Level – B2

This is a powerful TED Talk from a young man about the importance of Superheroes who reflect diversity. Listen with or without the CC to practice listening in English.

video preview

Grammar Tip

Language Level A2

Past Perfect Verb Tense

An English verb tense used for a completed activity in the past. It emphasizes that an action was completed before another action took place.

Example: Mom had baked a cake before you arrived.

TIP: Most sentences featuring the past perfect tense include the word “before.”

Create the past perfect tense using:

“had” + past participle

The test had begun before I arrived.

Create the negative version using:

“had not” + past participle

He had not earned enough points before the contest ended.

Create the question form using:

“had” + subject + past participle

Had the team planned its next move before the budget cuts?


question word + “had” + subject + past participle

Why had she started the meeting before everyone arrived?

Let’s Practice!

First – write the correct verb form for each sentence.

Second – Identify if the verb form is past simple or past perfect.

  1. I left my office and then __________ (take) a taxi home.
  2. I failed my test because I __________ (not/study) before I took it.
  3. The airplane departed by 8 p.m. and __________ (arrive) in Toronto three hours later.
  4. I didn’t order food, so I __________ (not/pay).
  5. I didn’t order food because I __________ (forgot) my wallet before I arrived at the restaurant.
  6. By the time I got to the party, my friends __________ (left). I missed them.
  7. By the year 2005, her parents __________ (divorce).
  8. In 2000, her parents __________ (fall) in love.

Vocabulary Tip

Language Level – B2

A few vocabulary words from the Oxford 3000. A list of 3000 words someone should know if they are taking the CEFR (Common European Framework Reference) language tests.

  1. Actual (adj.)
  2. Adapt (v.)
  3. Additional (adj.)
  4. Address (v.)
  5. Administration (n.)
  6. Adopt (v.)
  7. Advance (n., v., adj.)
  8. Affair (n.)
  9. Afterwards (adv.)
  10. Agency (n.)

You will find the definitions to this growing list of B2- level words in this quizlet.

Weekly Treat

Language Level – B2

Watch this fun video that uses a Superhero movie clip to teach English:

video preview


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