Why is the preposition to used here in this sentence? Does it go with effect or skin? I thought it's more common to say "effect on something" and "on the skin."

The controversial image, taken by star photographer Steven Klien, shows Hadid with such a deep bronzing effect to her skin that many took it to be a racist overture.

  • It's awkward phrasing. Could perhaps be slightly improved with deep bronzing effect on her skin, but it's really just a mess anyway. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 16 '18 at 17:07
  • Why there is no article before star? Surely, neither photographer, nor Steven Klien is a mass noun. Should it not be the star photographer Steven Klien? – Michael Login Aug 16 '18 at 17:07
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    @Mv Log: It's perfectly natural to delete the article in such contexts (in particular, "popular journalism / gossip column" contexts as per the example). Consider (somebody worked) with star comedian (somebody else). A bit "tabloid journalese", maybe. But not exactly unknown in natural colloquial speech. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Aug 16 '18 at 17:15
  • @FumbleFingers I think the author meant some Photoshop effect (applied) to her skin. – Michael Login Aug 16 '18 at 17:16
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    You often see 'to' used when discussing actions having physical effects on people's bodies, e.g. in police or medical reports - bruising to the face, cuts to the arms, lacerations to the hand, etc. Both sides of the Atlantic. – Michael Harvey Aug 16 '18 at 17:51

You asked a similar question the other day. to can express an attribute relationship. The object of preposition to is that which has the attribute.

There is a trick to it.

There was a pleasant lilt to her voice.

There's a limit to what he will put up with.

Now, bronzing effect is semantically not well suited to being cast as an attribute, but we can understand it here to be a synonym for bronze tone or bronze color.

There was such a deep bronze tone to her skin—the result of photographic filters—that many took the effect to be a racist overture.

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  • Looking at this answer and your part-to-whole explanation in your other answer together does make things clearer for me! I guess what I am still not sure about is when/if other prepositions such as in, on, of can also be used. For example, is "There was a pleasant lilt in her voice" or "There was not a trace of accent in his voice" wrong? Less common? Equally idiomatic? – Eddie Kal Aug 16 '18 at 21:27
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    Equally idiomatic to be sure. We'd need data for frequency, and we'd also have to take demographics into account. to may be used more often by boomers than by millenials. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 16 '18 at 23:42
  • And by whatever the counterpart generations are called in the UK. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Aug 17 '18 at 0:23

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