Right TO or Right OF?

  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    Right to privacy is correct. If you know the exact difference between right to and right of, you know more than I do.
    Perhaps right to is more concerned with individual or moral rights.
    We all have a right to life.
    My father left me that money in his will, so I've got a right to it
    Perhaps right of is more of a legal term.
    You have the right of way when the traffic lights are green.
    It's a private road. The public have no right of access
    He was found guilty but he has the right of appeal.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    India - Malayalam
    Thank you, rhitagawr.

    Right to property or right to freedom of speech is legally enforceable. So they are legal rights. If I remember correctly, I have seen Right OF property and Right OF freedom of speech used by some careful users of the language.


    Senior Member
    British English
    A right of something is a general concept, established in law or by treaty, not an individual right. A right of property, a right of inheritance, a right of freedom of speech, a right of way, a right of appeal, etc are rights established in law. A right of free passage is a right established by treaty or international agreement.

    An individual citizen benefits from those statutory rights, so has a right to property, a right to his father's estate, a right to free speech, a right to benefit from a right of way (which becomes "it's my right of way"), a right to appeal, etc. A ship or an aeroplane is entitled to make use of a right of free pasage, so it has a right to free passage.

    You will, of course, see examples which don't follow this distinction. A right to something can also be a general (perhaps nebulous) concept - eg a right to life. That fits in with rhitagawr's point about individual and moral rights. I say nebulous because we also have a right to death, and that trumps any right we might have to life. :rolleyes: