hi: i have a question about English tense. could you explain the use of tense in the following paragraph? (bold italic added)
"In the 16th c. there are some traces of a perception that the word might have an extended application to other languages. But it was not before the 17 th c. that it became so completely a generic term that there was any need to speak explicitly of 'Latin grammar'."
My question is: why does the first sentence use "are" while the others use Simple Past Tense when they both refer to past event? thank you!
The passage is mostly in the simple past, but the "traces" are present in records that we have now. (There is occasional use of a 'historic present' in accounts of the past, but here I think the present can be explained as I've suggested. Other teachers may disagree.)