Business|Adults|Pre-Int|6. Company History


Look at the picture. What can you see? Answer the questions:

1. Do you know the history of your company? How old is the company you work for?

2. Is it important for an employee to know the company’s history?

3. How long do you plan to work for your organization?

4. How are your job responsibilities evolving?

Match each company with the date it was set up

  • Apple Inc. is an American multinational technology company that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services. The company’s products include the iPhone, the iPad, the Mac, the iPod, the Apple Watch, and the Apple TV digital media player. Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in April 1976 to develop and sell personal computers. Apple went public in 1980 to instant financial success.
  • Coca-Cola (often Coke) is a carbonated soft drink produced by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, who led Coca-Cola to its dominance. The drink’s name refers to two of its original ingredients, which were kola nuts (a source of caffeine) and coca leaves. The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret.
  • Ford is an American multinational automaker. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. The company sells automobiles and commercial vehicles under the Ford brand and most luxury cars under the Lincoln brand. It is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and is controlled by the Ford family. During the financial crisis at the beginning of the 21st century, it was close to bankruptcy, but it has since returned to profitability.
  • Nokia is a Finnish multinational communications and information technology company, founded in 1865. The company has had various industries in its 151-year history. It was founded as a pulp mill, but now focuses on large-scale telecommunications infrastructures, technology development, and design licensing. Nokia is also a major contributor to the mobile telephony industry, having assisted in the development of the GSM and LTE standards, and was, for a period, the largest vendor of mobile phones in the world.

What do you know about the Levi’s company? Read the questions and choose True or False

Look at the verbs in the table and nouns below. Find thirteen verb-noun collocations

Listen to the audio. For each question 1-7, fill in the missing information in the space using a word, numbers or letters

Exam tip

PART 2 Note completion

This part tests the candidates’ ability to listen for specific information. Each correct answer in Part 2 receives 1 mark.

This part consists of a short conversation, typically lasting around a minute and a half, which contains factual information. On the question paper there is a form, table, chart or set of notes with seven gaps where information is missing. Candidates have to fill in each of the gaps. The answers may include dates, prices, percentages or figures. This part has a numerical focus and sometimes there are names that are spelled out on the recording; answers to these questions have to be written with correct spelling.

Levi Strauss was born in Bavaria in 1829 but when he was 17, he and his family emigrated to the USA. In 1853, he set up his first clothing business in Battery Street, San Francisco. Some years later, Levi received a letter from a local tailor named Jacob Davis. Davis had a plan for a new design of men’s trousers with metal «rivets» on the pockets and he wanted to know if Levi was interested in producing them. The two men went into partnership and production began in 1873. At that time, the trousers were called «overalls».

Skim the text about Levi Strauss & Co. and choose the best heading for each of the paragraphs. You won’t need one of the headings

  • a tailor [ˈteɪlə] — a person whose occupation is making fitted clothes such as suits, pants, and jackets to fit individual customers.
  • a rivet [ˈrɪvɪt] — a short metal pin or bolt for holding together two plates of metal, its headless end being beaten out or pressed down when in place.
  • an overall [ˈəʊvərɔːl] — a garment consisting of trousers with a front flap over the chest held up by straps over the shoulders, made of sturdy material and worn especially as casual or working clothes
  • to decline [dɪˈklaɪn] — to experience a gradual and continuous loss of strength, numbers, quality, or value.
  • to expand [ɪksˈpænd] — become or make larger or more extensive.
  • rapidly [ˈræpɪdli] — quickly, fast
  • a laundrette [ˌlɔːndəˈrɛt] — a self-service laundry (service mark Laundromat) where coin-operated washing machines are available to individual customers.


1. How did the company begin? 3. How did they continue after Levi’s death?
2. Why were they so successful? 4. How did they find sponsors?

Choose the best title for the article from the following

Watch the video and answer the questions

1. Where are people in the commercial?

2. What is so unusual about the way he washed his jeans?

3. Do you like this commercial?

Read the second paragraph of the text again and decide which two of the following statements are correct

Study more examples

Past simple questions

Past simple questions using most verbs are formed with did plus the verb in the base form:

✔️ How did the company begin? (The company began …)

✔️ How did they continue after Levi’s death? (They continued …)

Past simple questions with was/were are formed by inverting the verb and subject:

✔️ Why were they so successful? (They were so successful because …)

✔️ Why was there a brief decline in sales? (There was a brief decline in sales because …)

Past Simple (to be)


«Was/were» are the past forms of «am, is, are». Isn’t it simple?



✔️ Yesterday Tim was at the museum of illusions.

✔️ He wasn’t alone, he was with his friends.

✔️ They were in the museum for a long time.

✔️ They weren’t bored at all.






  • Use was/were for past states.

Yesterday Tim was at the museum of illusions.

Were you in Dubai last week?
Yes, I was.

We weren’t late for the show.

Common mistakes

Ann were late this morning. ✔️ Ann was late this morning.

Past Simple of «be»


Remember «am», «is» and «are»? Find out more about their past forms



Do you know Coco Chanel?

She was a fashion designer. Coco was born in 1883 in France. Her early years were not glamorous — Coco’s mother was not with her, and her father left her. But she made a revolution in the fashion industry.





+ I

He              was….




We               were….



He        was not (wasn’t)….




We      were not (weren’t)….



Was  I…?/he…?/she…?/it…?



Were  you…?/they…?/we…?



  • To talk about the past states

She was a designer.

Her early years were not glamorous.

Was he late?
— Yes, he was.

Were they at the cinema?
— No, they were not at the cinema.

  • Use was/were with the following markers

yesterday (We were busy yesterday.)

last week, last month, last year, etc. (Last week I wasn’t home.)

❖ 2 days ago, one week ago, etc. (She was late for work 2 days ago.)

in 2015, in 1867 (The summer was very hot in 2014.)

Common mistakes

Was you at home yesterday?

Why did they be late last week?

✔️ Were you at home yesterday?

✔️ Why were they late last week?

Write the past simple form of the following verbs. Check your spelling in the text if you’re not sure


The following verbs are irregular. Write the past simple form


The answers to the questions below are all in the Levi Strauss & Co. text. Read the answer and write the missing questions in the past simple

Select the box containing the option you can relate to


I work for…

  1. What’s the name of your company?
  2. Is your company an international one?
  3. How old is your company?
  4. When did you start working for this company?
  5. Did you choose your company because of its stability?
  6. Is your staff expanding rapidly?
  7. Do you have any traditions at work?
  8. Do you have an option to relocate to other branches?
  9. What are the advantages of working for a company with a long history?
  10. Are there any disadvantages?

  1. What’s the name of your company?
  2. When did you join the team?
  3. What’s the number of employees in your company?
  4. Is it easy to advance in a new organisation?
  5. Did you get any exciting and rewarding experiences working for the company?
  6. Does working for a new company mean that it is you who is writing its history?
  7. Do you have an option to relocate to other branches?
  8. Is your boss flexible about planning working strategy?
  9. Did joining this company positively affect your life?
  10. What are the advantages of working for a new company? Are there any disadvantages?

In this scene Gordon Gekko describes his first successful business deal. Focus on the questions. Put the verbs into the correct form to make questions

In Oliver Stone’s film, Wall Street, Michael Douglas plays Gordon Gekko, a financial trader with just one interest in life — money!

Now watch the video twice and answer the questions which you filled in

See that building? I bought that building ten years ago. My first real-estate deal. Sold it two years later. Made an $800,000 profit. It was better than sex. At the time I thought that was all the money in the world. Now it’s a day’s pay.

Match the infinitive form and its Past Simple form

Watch the video again and fill in the gaps with an appropriate verb from. Don’t forget that they are in the Past Simple Tense

See that building? I bought that building ten years ago. My first real-estate deal. Sold it two years later. Made an $800,000 profit. It was better than sex. At the time I thought that was all the money in the world. Now it’s a day’s pay.

Past Simple is often used with expressions which refer to a definite moment or period in the past. Put the sentences in order from the earliest to the most recent events

Read the exam tip on BEC Reading Part 6 Multiple-choice cloze


Exam tip

BEC Reading Part 6 Multiple-choice cloze

This part tests candidates’ grammatical accuracy and understanding of text structure. Each correct answer in Part 6 receives 1 mark. This is a multiple-choice cloze test. Candidates have to select the correct word from three options to complete gaps. This part has a predominantly grammatical focus and tests candidates’ understanding of the general and detailed meaning of a text, and in particular their ability to analyse structural patterns.

Preparation Part 6

Practice in the grammatical and structural aspects of the language is useful for this part.
Analyse the structure and coherence of language within longer discourse so you are encouraged to read for meaning beyond sentence level.
Analyse errors in your own work, as tasks such as this typically focus on common grammatical difficulties.

Read the following definition and read the following information about a business prize

entrepreneur – n. someone who starts up their own business, especially if this involves risk

Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year is a business award which recognises outstanding achievement in company development. The award started in the US in 1986 but now it takes place in over 35 nations. One of the winners of the award in 2004 was Socorro Ramos, the owner of the biggest book store in the Philippines.

Read the interview below between Socorro Ramos and a journalist. Choose the correct word to fill each gap


There are many more words in the box than you need. This means that you must make sure that the verb you choose has the right meaning and is also in the correct form — either the past simple or base form.

arrange / arranged / buy / bought / call / called / come / came / dream / dreamed / earn / earned / expect / expected / feel / felt / go / went / grow / grew / leave / left / meet / met / open / opened / start / started / stay / stayed / sweep / swept / win / won / work / worked

Study the prepositions in the picture, then answer the questions about the following sentences

A. I opened my first bookstore in 1945.

B. My husband swept the floor at 2 am.

C. How did you feel on March 7?


Complete the following sentences (1-5) about Socorro Ramos with the correct time prepositions

Read the task and prepare your 2-minute speech on the topic «Working for a company with a history»

Cover the points:

1. What’s better — working for an international company with a history or a new developing one?

2. Does a long company’s history guarantee stability to its employees?

3. Do you have a corporate culture at work? Which of the traditions do you like most?

4. Are companies with a long history flexible to new ideas or they are rather conservative?

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Companies
  • Company word collocation
  • Levi's facts
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • The Past Simple
  • Regular and irregular verbs
  • Practice
  • Discussion
  • Past Simple
  • Grammar
  • Time markers
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Dates and time
  • Preposition Practice
  • Speakout