A person changed her name from A to B.

"My 6th grade English teacher was A" sounds right, but when I alter the sentence structure to "B was my 6th grade English teacher" it sounds right. These are just 2 variations of the same sentence, so why does the order make referring to the person with a different name sound correct?

According to Past or present tense when talking about firsts that happened in the past?, one should always say "My 6th grade English teacher was..." and not "My 6th grade English teacher is..."

I think the "was" version requires using her old name, but the "is" version (although not grammatically correct) is 1 way to use her new name.

How to properly refer to a person who had changed their name in past tense?

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    Where is "called" or "named"? Without the crucial word, it could lead to plenty of interpretations. – Kris Jul 6 '18 at 7:30
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    (How do) you flag down votes? ;) – Kris Jul 6 '18 at 7:30
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    I don't understand the question. You say that both sentences sound correct, but then you ask why changing the order makes something sound correct. – Barmar Jul 6 '18 at 19:43
  • I'd generally use the past tense unless I'm describing something my teacher in the past is doing now, as in "My 6th grade teacher is still working." – Barmar Jul 6 '18 at 19:45
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    This question makes zero sense. The question itself makes sense, but all of the information and examples provided have nothing to do with the actual question. None of it is what you'd say to indicate that someone had changed their name. If I had a sixth grade teacher named Miss Robinson, but she has since gotten married and is now called Mrs. Smith, that's what I would say. Or I'd say, "Mrs. Smith was my sixth grade teacher, but back then she was Miss Robinson." You might also say, "Mrs. Smith, nee Robinson, was my sixth grade teacher," but that's more like how you'd read it in the paper. – Billy Jul 7 '18 at 16:26

‘My 6th grade teacher was A’ and ‘B was my 6th grade teacher’ are likely to be used in different contexts, and it is the the difference in contexts that explains why it is natural to use the old name in the former and the new name in the latter. ‘B was my 6th grade teacher’ presupposes a context that is anchored in the present, that is, it presupposes that those involved in the conversation know this person in the present, under the person’s current name ‘B’. The sentence begins by directing their attention to that person, and then proceeds to provide one tidbit about the person’s history. On the other hand, ‘My 6th grade teacher was A’ is entirely about the past; it is likely to be used when people are reminiscing about the time when they were in the 6th grade. In such a case, the old name, ‘A’ is a part of the content of their reminiscences, and the person’s present-day name is irrelevant.

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