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Your English: Collocations: key (adj)

Type: Article

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As an adjective, key can be used to refer to a part of something to indicate that it is very important. Words that key can collocate with in this use include aspect, component, element, factor, feature and ingredient, as in ‘A good team spirit has been a key factor in their success this year’ or ‘Relaxation techniques are a key feature of the recovery programme’. 

Key can also be used to refer to a person such as a figure or player, as in ‘He was a key figure in Latin American politics for more than four decades’, and to words that represent an idea of some sort, including concept, point and principle, as in ‘A key principle when allocating funds is the viability of the project in question’. 

People may play a key role or a key part in something, as in ‘He was credited in playing a key role in bringing peace to the region after years of conflict’, and key may also be used with various words that refer to issues, such as issue itself, question, area and theme, as in ‘In her speech, the minister referred to a number of key issues affecting educational policy in the short term’. 

Aims, goals, objectives and priorities may also be key, as in ‘The strategy sets out four key objectives which need to be met’. Some of the findings of an inquiry or a piece of research may also be considered to be key, as in ‘She concluded the presentation by outlining the key findings of the research programme’.

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