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Yesterday in class I had such an example in my book:

A: "What do you need?" B: Just a piece of paper. Next day: A: I asked what you...

Which option?

"I asked what you needed yesterday."? or "I asked what you had needed yesterday."?

  • If you asked today what was needed yesterday, then you should use the past perfect. – Peter Shor Mar 25 '17 at 15:51
  • If you asked today what was needed yesterday, then you should use the past simple. Seriously the past simple is most natural here. – Arm the good guys in America Mar 25 '17 at 16:06
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There are two basis scenarios. In the first you are referring to a question you asked yesterday, in the second you have just asked a question about your needs of yesterday.

Assume today is Friday. Possible expressions:

Scenario 1. Yesterday, I asked what you needed. Yesterday I asked what you (had) needed on Tuesday (Both with and without had are possible, depending on context)

Scenario 2 I just asked you what you (had) needed yesterday (to complete the job). (Both with and without had are possible.)

If you simply ask a question, I asked what you needed yesterday putting "yesterday" at the end of the sentence, it sort of suggests scenario 2.

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