has to / doesn't have to & tennis

Discussion in 'English Only' started by nh13, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. nh13 New Member

    Spanish - Argentina
    Look at this sentence from a book:

    A tennis player has to / doesn't have to hit the ball inside the white lines.

    So, if you know how tennis is played, you'll probably say that doesn't have to would be the correct option. Nevertheless, the key from the teacher's book says has to is the correct one...

    This is the context within which I have to solve the exercise:

    Modal verbs for rules:
    Not necessary (but allowed): don't have to
    Necessary and an obligation: have to
    the white lines =
    the lines down the side of a sports area, defining when the ball or the player is in or out

    As far as I know, in tennis you can hit the ball inside or outside the area... What matters is that the ball hit the ground inside the white lines in your opponent's side of the court...

    So, have I been playing tennis the wrong way all my life or is the book just forgery? :eek:
  2. Chez Senior Member

    English English
    Ah, I think you have misunderstood the intention of the sentence. I understand why, and your thinking is perfectly logical, but to a native English-speaker we would instantly know that the sentence means that where the ball must LAND must be inside the white lines, NOT where the player HITTING the ball is standing.

    Therefore, the correct answer is 'has to' – as you obviously know, the ball must land INSIDE the white lines to be allowed.
  3. nh13 New Member

    Spanish - Argentina
    Yes, that was my third option... Another meaning for the word hit. So, it's the ball hitting the ground and not the player hitting the ball in this case?
  4. Chez Senior Member

    English English
    No, it is talking about the player hitting the ball, but referring to where he must place it/aim it (inside the white lines).

    In Soccer: he hit the ball in(to) the goal = the player kicked the ball; where to? Into the goal
  5. nh13 New Member

    Spanish - Argentina
    Oh, so its meaning would be similar to aim...

    Thanks a lot! :thumbsup:
  6. Winstanley808 Banned

    English - U.S.
    I've never spoken anything but English and I find the sentence ambiguous. Because I already know the rule that serves and returns must strike the surface of the court within (or on) the white boundary lines, without further discussion I would have chosen "has to," but I knew right away what nh13 was thinking when he said "doesn't have to" was the correct answer. This is OK as an example of the "have to = must" structure, but it would be a terrible exam question, and it would be an equally terrible way to describe the rules of the game. The problem is the use of the verb "hit." There are actually three situations regarding "hitting" the ball and "inside the white lines":

    (1) When he hits the ball to return it, a player does not have to have his feet inside the white lines. He may be in or outside the lines.
    (2) When the ball hits the surface of the court, on a serve or return, the ball has to strike inside the white lines. If it doesn't, the player who struck it last (with his raquet) loses the point.
    (3) When the player serves, his feet have to be outside the white lines when he hits the ball; if they are inside or on the service line, the player has committed a foot fault. If he does it again on the same serve attempt, he loses the point.
  7. nh13 New Member

    Spanish - Argentina
    I still don't know exactly what it is that I don't have that you have to be able to instantly choose has to instead of have to... Is this some kind of common sense thing to English speakers?

    When a ball is returned it can hit on the white lines. It is allowed but not necessary. So, in a way, it mustn't / can't hit outside the white lines... It is not allowed. Is inside excluding on the white lines? Even more confusing is the fact that there isn't only one enclosed area surrounded by lines. So within which of the five areas surrounded by lines must the ball "hit"?

    I'm now even more confused. And so was everybody in my class. We were about six people, all Spanish speakers.

    I couldn't even find a definition of the word hit that would explain this... :c
  8. perpend

    perpend Banned

    American English
    In returning the ball, you need hit it to opposite side of the net, and place the ball (that you have hit) within the white lines.

    (I play tennis.)

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