Key to the door or key of the door?

  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    As Rover says, "the key of the door" is a set phrase in BE, at least.
    Around the panj residence we sometimes have to search for the "key for the big door".
    I think "key to the door" sounds very strange, but that could be a local peculiarity.
     

    gianteagle

    New Member
    Chinese
    I would mostly agree with Gorge French, it is more natural to say "Do you have the door key?"

    How about the following question? "You must take the keys_______the door with you when you go out. " Options: A.to; B.of. The standard answer is A. I prefer changing this sentence to "You must take the door keys with you when you go out."
     
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    losilmer

    Senior Member
    When we say "the key to the door" we seem to imply that the key is to open or close the door. In this sense "the key for the door" would be a synonym. The habit of using "to" has probably been the cause why those teachers say that this is the correct use.
    But this is only a tendency.
     

    Brioche

    Senior Member
    Australia English
    As Rover says, "the key of the door" is a set phrase in BE, at least.
    Around the panj residence we sometimes have to search for the "key for the big door".
    I think "key to the door" sounds very strange, but that could be a local peculiarity.

    Other folk in the UK use "key to the door".

    Abbey National Building Society [now a bank called Abbey] published its own history in a book called: "A key to the door: the Abbey National story".

    On 27 Oct 1995, The Times Higher Education Supplement ran an article "Key to the door for graduates".

    British author Alan Sillitoe wrote a book "Key to the door".

    According to the BBC the words are "21 today, you've got the key to the door, never been 21 before'.

    When key is used metaphorically it is usually "key to"

    Black holes are the key to the evolution of the universe.
    Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
    by Mary Baker Eddy
    Exercise may not be the key to weight loss.
     
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