The first explicit evidence of Christ’s message reaching Finland is indeed sixth century, and by the eighth to ninth centuries the cross often appeared as a symbol of good fortune and unity on jewellery and high-status artefacts.

  • Finlands History by Henrik Meinander

The sentence above says: Evidence is sixth century. Am I right? Or am I missing something that does not let me understand the sentence correctly?

My other variant is: The first evidence found by us belongs to sixth century.

1 Answer 1


The text:

The first explicit evidence ... is indeed sixth century, ...

is a shortened form. It seems intended to mean something like:

The earliest explicit evidence ... indeed dates from the sixth century, ...

or perhaps

The earliest explicit evidence ... indeed shows Chrisatian symbolish to have been present in the sixth century, ...

or more simply:

The earliest explicit evidence ... indeed is from the sixth century, ...

Saying "the evidence is sixth century" is, in my view, careless and therefore poor writing. However, I think most fluent speakers would correctly understand it to mean that the evidence is from that time, or shows Christian symbols to have been present in that time.

The problem is not the placement or use of the word "evidence", that is fine. The problem is the use of the verb form "is" without qualification, which seems to make an equation between the evidence and the century. Using instead a verbal phrase such as "is from", "dates from" or "belongs to" clarifies the meaning of the text.

  • 1
    I don't think it's careless. Prepositions are often optional with "point of time" expressions.
    – Colin Fine
    Aug 5, 2022 at 19:26
  • @Colin Fine That is a matter of style. The given sentence is not wrong But I think that some qualifier or modifier to "is" makes it clearer and improves the writing significantly.
    – David Siegel
    Aug 5, 2022 at 19:30

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