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The movie had (already) started when I got to the theater.

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
Would (a) have almost the same meaning as (b)? Is "already" optional here?
(a) The movie had started when I got to the theater.
(b) The movie had already started when I got to the theater.

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 

mdchachi

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Yes I think so. Same meaning and "already" is redundant. But using it sounds natural.
 

Julie.chan

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There's a very subtle distinction here: The first one means that you got there just in time (i.e. that the movie started just as you entered the theater). The second one could mean that, or it could mean you got there late (i.e. it was already running as you entered the theater).
 

tasqunevie

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Dear native English speakers,
Would (a) have almost the same meaning as (b)? Is "already" optional here?
(a) The movie had started when I got to the theater.
(b) The movie had already started when I got to the theater.

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
This tense in English is called the past perfect, which indicates something that's happened before another action in the past. "Already" is generally used with this tense but I think just serves to emphasize the action(s) taking place, but it is optional
 

hirashin

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Thank you for the help, Julimaruchan and tasqunevie.
It seems that Julimaruchan has a different view from the other two people.
Can't (a) mean (b)?
 

tasqunevie

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Thank you for the help, Julimaruchan and tasqunevie.
It seems that Julimaruchan has a different view from the other two people.
Can't (a) mean (b)?
No, I do agree with Juli. They can have the exact same meaning. However, using 'already' here highlights that the movie started before you had arrived. So it makes sense to say that the emphasis here is placed on the fact that you were late arriving to the movie that had already began. Am I making any sense here?

I don't know if you're being tested on something like this, but something as small as this really does not need to be taken to such a length (especially in casual speech). Maybe someone else can offer a differing opinion?
 

hirashin

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Thank you for the help, tasqunevie.
Do you think that (a) means (c), not (b)?
(c) The movie had just started when I got to the theater.
 

OoTmaster

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Yes I think that (a) more closely matching the meaning of (c), however (a) is interchangeable with (b). More so that you can use (a) to mean (b) but not (b) to mean (a). I hope that makes as much sense as I think it does.
 

AmerikaJin5

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I don't think that (a) has the distinction of "making it just in time" because it says "The movie had started when I got to the theater" (indicating a state that began before the speaker entered the premise). For such a meaning, simply saying "The movie started when I got to the theater" would indicate that you made it just in time.

That being said, I think that (b) does have the same meaning as (a), but in some cases (depending on the context) you could use (b) to indicate a sense of remorse/frustration/surprise as it relates to the speaker directly.
e.g., "My friends and I decided to arrive a few minutes early to get good seats, but the movie had already started when we got there."
 
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