Which one is grammatically correct?

It was not until grade 2 when I discovered the 'earth' has a name.


It was not until grade 2 when I discovered the 'earth' had a name.

  • 2
    Although not wrong, the use of when sound strange to me here. I would more naturally say that. Sep 27, 2018 at 6:52

1 Answer 1


Either. Normally we back=shift, so with a past-tense matrix verb ('discovered') we use a past-tense verb in the embedded clause.

But when the embedded clause denotes a state which continues to the present, we can use the present instead.

To my ear, the past sounds more natural: if you use the present, you are emphasising that the state still exists.

  • 1
    Agreed, for example: "I discovered in Grade 2 that men had never visited the moon": what you discovered then was true at the time, but is no longer true today, so "had" is needed. Sep 27, 2018 at 10:22

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