Adaptability is [a] key to survival.

Wilmar Fraylan

Member
Russian-Russia
Hello everyone!
I came across this sentence in a book "A Theory of Fun for Game Design" by Raph Koster. The sentence actually speaks for itself; there's no context that would significantly affect the perceived meaning of it.
My question is about an article. English is my second language, and my mother tongue does not have articles at all, so I struggle with it.
The sentence is written in the book without an "a" (Adaptability is key to survival). Why is that so? "Key to survival" seems to be countable. This is an idea, some concept, like an attribute that helps a species to survive and prosper. There might be several of them, separable, and each "key" may be considered as standing alone from others. So, I can say "There are three keys to survival of humankind". Thus, I don't understand why an "a" is omitted. Actually, this is not the first time I come across something like this (when countable noun is used without any article in such a general-sense-like sentence). Unfortunately, I didn't keep any examples, except the last one about "key to survival".
Thank you everyone!
 
  • uress

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    "Adaptability is the key to survival" -is what I would say and that the "the" is omitted because of the title usage.
     

    Wilmar Fraylan

    Member
    Russian-Russia
    -is what I would say and that the "the" is omitted because of the title usage
    I didn't quite understand this one. What do you mean by "title usage"?
    I think "key" in that phrase is an adjective. It is critical to survival.
    That didn't even come to my mind when I was thinking about it. Thank you. Maybe this is really the case.
     
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