Language tip of the week: right

Posted by on October 25, 2011

In this weekly microblog, we bring to English language learners more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, etc) which learners often find difficult.

This week’s language tip is about the noun right.

When the noun right means ‘something that you are morally or legally allowed to do’, it is mainly used in these patterns:
▪  the right to do something
▪  the right to something
It is not usually followed by the preposition of:
✗ Just like humans, animals have the right of living.
✓ Just like humans, animals have the right to live.
✗ The new law restricts the right of smoking in different areas of a restaurant.
✓ The new law restricts the right to smoke in different areas of a restaurant.
✗ …the individual’s right of self-protection
✓ …the individual’s right to self-protection
However, the pattern the right of is used in some fixed expressions in legal and official contexts. The most frequent ones are:
right of abode, right of access, right of appeal, right of entry, right of free speech, right of reply, right of silence, right of veto, right of way
The Supreme Court ruled that denying offenders the right of appeal was incompatible with their human rights.

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