Virgin founder Richard Branson’s ‘golden rule’ to making money from investments revealed (source)

This headline from a Daily Express piece grates. The preposition used after rule is usually "of" or "for". "A rule to something" sounds odd to my ear, although I understand the usage here might manifest the lax grammar of headlinese. Why is "to" used here? I wonder if this is a BrE usage.

  • 3
    I don't think there's anything particularly "British" about the Express's preposition use as cited. I've no doubt that to is almost certainly far less common than for in the exact context, but I think it's pedantic in the extreme to imply that either version is somehow "incorrect". There are some contexts where only one preposition is "acceptable", but this isn't one of those. In any case, I have to say that I'd vastly prefer to over of here. Apr 14, 2020 at 17:28
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    Note from a Brit - even if I agreed with the Daily Express's far-right politics, which I don't, I'd have to admit that its standards of copy editing are very low, and errors like 'golden rule to' are not all that unusual. The newspaper is a very down market trashy tabloid. Apr 14, 2020 at 17:44
  • I spent approximately two minutes on the Daily Express web site before I found this complete sentence: "After Harry launched the Travalyst initiative in Edinburgh earlier this year, and Harry asked to be introduced just by his first name." Apr 14, 2020 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


Why is "to" used here?

The best answer is probably this comment: "The newspaper is a very down market trashy tabloid." However, the cause-and-effect in this case should not be attributed merely to lax copy editing.

The tone of such a newspaper is sensationalistic.

The correct word "for" would be boring, and make the sentence ordinary.

Not sensational.

Also, it appears they would like to conjure this sort of phrase in the reader's mind: "Richard Branson’s guide to riches", where "to" fits better.

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