This is the sentence:

I went to see it because I was/had been told it was a good film by all my friends.

I chose was, but the correct answer is had been. Can someone explain why is it so?

  • Either is perfectly fine. Without more information, there is no reason to know why one would be marked as correct over the other. – Jason Bassford May 5 '19 at 7:57
  • That's a tough one – wavery May 5 '19 at 8:05
  • 1
    @JasonBassford, They both are fine indeed, but I think the exercise is intended to be a quizz on using the past perfect. – Lucian Sava May 5 '19 at 8:22

I went to see it because I had been told it was a good film by all my friends.

You have two separate events here:

The first event:

  • Your friends told you the film is good.

The second event (which is, in fact, the next event):

  • You went to see the film due to your friends' recommendation.

Your sentence indicates that the second event happened before the other one as after your friends told you about the film, you went to see it (as a result).

Therefore, and since the two events occurred at some time in the past, what happened first in the past takes the past perfect (in the passive voice because of your sentence structure), and the event that happened later in the past takes the past simple.

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