The ball is in someone's court | jy.catholic.org.hk

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The ball is in someone's court

刊登日期: 2019.11.15
作者: Grace Tse  

The trade war between China and the United States has been ongoing for more than a year. While both countries are negotiating a deal, you may hear the following comments made by either side from time to time. 

USA’s delegate: “The ball is in China’s court.” 

China’s delegate: “The ball is in the United States’ court.” 

The“ball”in this expression may refer to a decision or some responsibility. This means that each side expects their opponent to take the next action. 

This modern expression, which has a very short history, started in the 20th century. It is believed that the idea comes from sports such as tennis and badminton. When Player A hits the ball over the net to Player B's court, it is up to Player B to decide the next move. 

Its written form appeared as early as 1956 in Time magazine in the USA. 

“The newcomer to the [U.S.] State Department…… is advised to remember that ‘when the ball is in your court’ it must be ‘returned rapidly over the net’”. 

Nowadays, the expression“the ball is in your court”(球在你的場內; 一切由你決定)is often used in business and politics. It is also quite popular in advertising to promote a product or a service, and to convince consumers to purchase now to take advantage of the best opportunity. 

In terms of usage, there are many ways to rephrase this expression. 

The ball is now back in the manager’s court, after a meeting with the trade union. 

You’ve put the ball in his court. He must give you a reply as soon as possible. 


 
Glossary 
Negotiating 
談判
Deal 
協定
Delegate 
代表
Responsibility 
責任
Opponent 
對手
Advertising 
廣告
Convince 
說服
Take advantage of 
充分利用

 

 

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