I'm just wondering if in the following sentence I have to insert a present perfect or a past tense form of the verb give:

Explorer James Cook explored the east coast of Australia and ... (give) New South Wales its name.

It should be in the present perfect ("has given"), shouldn't it? If yes, why, if no, why not?

Thanks for your answers!

1 Answer 1


When in doubt, break your sentence apart so the subject and verb in question go together, like so:

  • Explorer James Cook (give?) New South Wales its name.

Use the third person past tense. James Cook only named New South Wales once, and he did it in the past. The process of naming it was also quantifiable (in this sense instantaneous). Explorer James Cook gave New South Wales its name.

You would use present perfect if you were trying to say that James Cook just very recently gave New South Wales its name. Present perfect takes a form like this:

  • Explorer James Cook has given New South Wales its name.

Can you tell from phrasing it this way that the present perfect isn't the right form?

  • How about using the past perfect tense in this case, would it be wrong? For example, Explorer James Cook had given New South Wales its name. Aug 5, 2017 at 14:31

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