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  1. Junior Member
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    Question Present tense and Past tense

    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!

  2. BobK's Avatar
    Harmless drudge
    English Teacher
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    Re: Present tense and Past tense

    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.)


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