'mother to': preposition


He is also now part of a showbiz family.
In 1992 he married Martha Ross, mother to TV presenters Paul and Jonathan, and herself an actress and performer.

Tony takes a look at the end of an era

Could you explain using of ‘mother to’ (not of)?

Or it’s just a typo, quite usual for the local newspaper?

Hi Tamara,

This use of ‘to’ is here only a journalistic variant and has no significance. It’s really a way of presenting the good lady in question rather than the more mundane ‘of’.

Personally if I were the mother of Jonathan Ross, I think I’d keep quiet about it!



Thank you, Alan.

In this case, the better option is “mother of”

When “mother to” is used, or at least in the instances in which I’ve seen it used, it is meant to signify the action of mothering others when the “mother” is not actually a mother of those with whom she is interacting. As in:

“My friend David’s mom was like a mother to me.”


“The basketball coach was like a mother to her players.”

But if we’re matching mother and son/daughter, I think the best option is to use “of”:

“Jenny is the mother of Tom.”

This signifies that Tom is Jenny’s son.

Sorry, Alan, I guess we were posting at the same time. Otherwise I’d have kept my trap shut. hehe