Is The key to -ing followed by to or -ing?


The key to winning is to practice/practicing

  • They are identical in meaning and are both grammatical. Personally I think "the key to winning is to practice" sound better, as the replication of the "ing" is jarring to my ears.
    – TechnoCat
    Feb 2 '20 at 20:27
  • 2
    Since the key is a simple noun form, I think it's more consistent to equate this with another noun - The key to winning is practice (not the infinitive or gerund verb forms). Feb 2 '20 at 20:36
  • ...compare Necessity is the mother of invention. Nobody says To need... or Needing is the mother of invention, even though it's not obvious to me that either of those are actually "ungrammatical".. Feb 2 '20 at 20:39
  • @TechnCat - on the contrary, the repetition of -ing can add emphasis - the key to winning is practising. Feb 2 '20 at 20:59

Both forms are possible.

If you check Key to success quotes then you will find examples, in which a similar phrase The key to success is... is used with both -ing and to forms.

The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.


The key to success is discovering this innate power and using it daily to deal with whatever challenges come our way.

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