Which one is correct and why?

It was done yesterday.


It had been done yesterday.


Sentence 1 is correct. Sentence 2: As a single sentence it is not correct, as Past Perfect is the "pre-past" in relation to a past. Here we have only one event in the past time, not two with one event before the other.

  • Is it clear? Sir – I don't know who I am. Jun 12 '15 at 6:52
  • He's saying the same thing as Greg Lee; namely, that without further (or prior) explanation, the reader has to conjure up (imagine) some past event to be the "temporal anchor" to justify usage of past perfect. – Brian Hitchcock Jun 12 '15 at 7:45

It just depends on the context, or what you want to convey about the context. If you say to me "It had been done yesterday", I'll try to think of something that happened earlier today before which you're saying it was done. Because this is what the construction demands -- a previous temporal anchor. Say, for example, this morning someone criticized me for not getting my car repaired, but at that time, I had already taken care of it the previous day. Then the temporal anchor is the criticism.

If I don't know of any such earlier event, I'll probably just assume there was something significant that happened earlier, and I'll be expecting you to fill me in.

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