Today, I was working on a write-up and had a sentence that said: We believe innovation is the key to success only to find that my partner had rewritten this as:

We believe innovation is the key of success.

Somehow, the latter seemed to have a monopolistic claim to 'unlocking success' than the previous one but somehow it doesn't feel right. I am not sure the two mean the same thing but I'm curious to which is better accepted as it is for publication purposes.


3 Answers 3


Though they are both acceptable, I'd rather use "to" in the sentence.

  • TO conveys the idea of a direction " towards",in this case that of success.
  • OF gives the idea of something more static, and reminds me of " the key of my room".

There's no grammatical reason you couldn't say "key of", but "key to" is the right choice, simply because it's the standard way. Prefer whatever makes your text read more smoothly, without the reader pausing momentarily to puzzle over some choice of words.


Funny--I would have found no problem with your wording, whereas your partner's sounds wrong to me. As far as I know, the correct idiom is the key to success, but perhaps there's a variant that I'm not aware of.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.