Why does it use the past simple tense rather than the past perfect (had been)?

(1) Odenkirk confirmed by early September 2021 that he was back on set filming.

The source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Better_Call_Saul_(season_6)

Whereas the following use the past perfect:

(2) "They HAD packed the goods by yesterday."

(3) "The good HAD been packed by yesterday."

(4) "He HAD finished writing his timesheet by 6 A.M."

The way I see it, (5) "The goods were packed by yesterday" is as equally correct as (3) with a different emphasis. The (5) emphasizes the state of the goods whereas the (3) emphasizes both the state of the goods (packed) and the action performed by someone (packing).

Here are a couple of examples from the web:

Bayona completed filming on his episodes by December 23.

Pre-production on further episodes began by July 2020.

Why then don't these use the past perfect tense?

  • 2
    You don't have have to use it. But when used, it precedes another action, either explicit or implied. He had come in the door when the phone rang. See? He entered BEFORE the phone rang. That is the main point about the past perfect and there are tons of answers on this site that show this in great detail.
    – Lambie
    Oct 21, 2021 at 18:31
  • (So, to address the original "Odenkirk" example: It's not past perfect because presumably his quote was something like "I'm back on set filming." In the past-simple sentence about his September press conference, the only time being discussed is September. Oct 21, 2021 at 18:48
  • @Lambie Of course I tried to read all related answers before posting. Your "when" and "before" examples are very well understood, thank you. By I'm struggling with the "by" phrase. What I'm deducing from your post now is that there has to be some following implied action to justify using the past perfect. For example, "In early October she learned that Odenkirk had confirmed by early September 2021 that he was back on set filming." I wonder why you say that I don't have to use it, though.
    – Let
    Oct 21, 2021 at 19:08
  • 1
    Because you don't. It can be more precise or elegant but sometimes people don't want that level of precision. Imagine an argument: Your boss says: Why didn't you confirm you were not attending? I did confirm it. I confirmed it by August. I really had confirmed it by July 31,
    – Lambie
    Oct 21, 2021 at 19:35
  • 2
    In the context of reporting or stating a series of chronological facts in an article, you're not as likely to see the past perfect. E.g. the following is unlikely: "Odenkirk had confirmed by early September that he was back on set filming." The Wikipedia article provides a straightforward, chronological narrative, and there is no pre-stated reference point after early September. On the other hand, if the article read: "Odenkirk stated in late September that he [had] finished shooting by early September," I would call the "had" optional and probably desirable due to the later reference point.
    – cruthers
    Oct 21, 2021 at 21:43


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