As a basic learner, we commonly use:

Will to play (verb)
will of car (noun)

Need to eat (verb)
Need of food (noun)

Similarly, we should write:

Right to read (verb)
Right of education (noun)

But we use Right to (education, liberty, property, etc.), why not "right of"?

If I use Right of (education, liberty, property), will it be grammatically correct?

  • 4
    "will of car" doesn't mean anything. – Daniel Roseman Feb 21 '19 at 9:59
  • 1
    You can say it's the purpose of education, but right of education sounds odd and not something I can imagine being used. (However, that doesn't make it ungrammatical.) The same comment is perhaps more true of the other nouns. Some nouns are used with right of (cars have right of way) but they are set expressions and seem to be exceptions. – Jason Bassford Feb 21 '19 at 15:25
  • 1
    the english language i the language that corners other languages in an alley and takes their spare vocabulary. because of this, there are many weird exceptions to rules that arent listed most of the time. for example, something commonly taught is "I before E except after C". a common word that breaks this rule is "science"en.wiktionary.org/wiki/… – CHARLES LEGATES Feb 25 '19 at 22:16
  • Charles I don't think "science" breaks the rule. The rule is for when the ie/ei makes a single sound. In the case of "science", the "i" belongs to the first syllable and the "e" belongs to the second. Or any word that ends in ent/ence e.g. proficient, the e belongs to ent, the i belongs to the c to make a "sh" sound. It is just coincidence that there happens to be a c, i, and e in that order. – Erin Feb 26 '19 at 3:08
  • As another English learner, I wonder: Wouldn't it be "the need for food"? As in, "we need to meet the needs of everyone for food and shelter". – Cacambo Oct 19 '20 at 5:11

If you say 'Right of education', 'Right of liberty' or 'Right of property' people will probably understand what you mean, but you will sound like a beginning speaker of English. These phrases aren't used by native speakers.

The confusion is understandable given the examples you've shown, however you're assuming there's a rule in English that there actually isn't. The prepositions 'to' and 'of' can't be interchanged in different phrases like you've suggested just based on the parts of speech (nouns or verbs) that come after them.

English is a language of phrases and idioms that have to be learned by rote in many cases, unfortunately for the learner. You can say

Need of food
Need of education
Need to read


Right to food
Right to education
Right to read

but not

Right of food
Right of education

However, you can say

Right of way

which is the only phrase I can think of that uses 'Right of' with a noun, meaning a right to the thing named by the noun. You can say

The right of people
The rights of all Americans

but in this case we are still saying 'the right ... to something' as in

The right of all people to food and shelter

If you want to learn native English, I would encourage you to take your examples from known native speaking sources - movies from native English speaking countries or books written by native English speaking authors. If you live in a place where a lot of people are speaking English as a second language you will hear examples of non-native English that have been widely adopted and are commonly used even though they are 'incorrect' from the standpoint of a native speaker. For instance, as mentioned in the comments, the phrase 'will of car' has no meaning in native English.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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