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A post says

we are sad to report that the 2019-2020 Serve City club volleyball season has had to be canceled for all 12U to 18U teams.

can I just say "... has to be canceled ..." or "has been canceled"?

what is the difference?

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    "Has to be canceled" would mean it is not canceled yet, and you want it to be canceled. Although "Has canceled" means that the event is already canceled, it does not imply the fact that the adminstration had no options but canceling it. However, "has had to be canceled" implies that they sort of didn't want to cancel, but they had no other choice. I am a learner though, take it with a grain of salt! :-) – Cardinal May 15 '20 at 7:38
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"Has to be" is present tense. It says that it is necessary. You could replace "has to be" with "must". "The volleyball season must be cancelled." You could imagine someone saying this at a meeting to decide whether or not to cancel the season, before the decision was officially made.

"Had to be" is the simple past tense of "has to be". You could say this when explaining why the season was cancelled. It was necessary back when we decided.

"Has had to be" is present perfect tense. The decision was completed sometime in the past, and we are currently in a state of cancellation. You could use this when informing people about the decision, after the decision was made but before the games start.

"Has been" different. It is past perfect tense, like "had to be" but it doesn't imply necessity. It is simply a statement of fact. The season was cancelled. The cancellation is still in effect. But there is no indication of why.

Here's a link to a similar question on the English Language page: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/373119/use-of-have-had-had-had-has-had

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  • Thanks for your comprehensive explanation. I guess I got it. Although, I suspect "Has been" is present perfect rather than past perfect tense. – Piete3r May 15 '20 at 10:04

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