1-The book is written 200 years ago.
2-The book was written 200 years ago.

Number two is more correct becuase the telephone was invented by Bell. Would you consider number one is also acceptable as a general fact?

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I don't think number one is acceptable.

In English the phrase 'X years ago' is almost always used in the past tense.
(x) The book is written 200 years ago.
(o) The book was written 200 years ago.
You may say:
(o) This is a book written 200 years ago.
But it is actually a contracted form of:
This is a book that/which was written 200 years ago.


I myself am an English learner and so you should not be sure I am right.
But if I make a mistake in answering, our moderators will correct it.
So you can wait to see whether they will come to correct.
Hi, Paco!

I like your answer. It makes perfect sense.

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I agree with Paco.

The book was written. (if the book is 200 years old, then it was written in the past)
The book is old. (if the book was written 200 years ago, then it is an old book)
Thank you, Cassie.Emotion: smile

What about,

1- Beethoven was a great composer.
2- Beethoven is a great composer.

Though number one is just fine, I think two is ok if you are stating a simple fact. He was great and his music is still wonderful.

Well, I'm not sure if you've heard the news, but Beethoven is . . . dead. Sorry. OK, seriously, though, I think you've made a good point, say, Pat and Max are playing a trivia game:

Max: Name a great composer.
Pat: Beethoven is a great composer.
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Hello Pastel

English 'be' has several meanings.
One and two is three. (be [is]= equal)
I am in Tokyo ( be [am] =exist = live)
When you say "Beethoven is a great composer", you are saying "Beethoven = a great composer".
When you say "Beethoven was a great composer", you are saying "Beethoven = a great compose, but he wad dead"
"Beethoven was a great composer" would be more scientific as a way of speaking, but by "Beethoven is a great composer", I feel your admiration to Beethoven is stronger.

Hi all,
Have you watched The Barber of Siberia? I strongly recommend it! In the movie, the sentence "Mozart is a great composer" is repeated at least 20 times!
I think it is perfectly OK. This is use of the present simple to describe general truth (hardly anybody will deny that Mozart is great).
I like your game, Sir.
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