How to use the word “control”

“Control” can be either a noun or a verb. It is commonly misused in both instances.

“Control” as a noun

WRONG
As the Branch is an organisational part of the Company, the public authorities may ask for these documents in the case of a control.

RIGHT
As the Branch is an organisational part of the Company, the public authorities may ask for these documents in the case of an inspection.

WRONG
A control of the account books may be conducted at the employer’s request.

RIGHT
An audit of the account books may be conducted at the employer’s request.

Alternatives to “control”: audit, check, inspection, verification

“Control” as a verb

WRONG
The public authority may control the warehouse without providing notice. 

RIGHT
The public authority may inspect the warehouse without providing notice.

WRONG
The President is obliged to control the correctness of the Tender proceedings before the conclusion of a contract.

RIGHT
The President is obliged to verify the correctness of the Tender proceedings before the conclusion of a contract.

Alternatives to “control”: audit, check, inspect, monitor, verify

Usage of “control” in English

As an uncountable noun:

“Control” has a meaning similar to “power”

Putin seems unwilling to relinquish political control.

Unfortunately the matter is no longer under our control.

Passport control – where your ID is checked at an airport.

Pest control – the activity of getting rid of an unwanted nuisance (and the authority that does this). E.g., if you want to get rid of rats in your basement you contact the local pest control or rodent control.

As a countable noun:

The word commonly refers to the switches, peddles and levers of a car, aircraft, tank etc

The captain sat down at the controls and switched off the autopilot.

“Controls” can be methods of regulation

The government has announced its intention to institute wage and price controls.

A “control” can also be a standard of comparison in a scientific experiment, e.g. a placebo in a clinical trial of a new drug. A “control group” is, e.g., the group of patients that receives a placebo.

As a verb:

To command, dominate, direct or restrain

He controlled the children like an experienced teacher.

Despite what had happened she managed to control her emotions.

To test or verify in a scientific experiment (to use a standard of comparison)
The experiment was controlled by the random allocation of the treatment among the patients.

Remember – the verb “to control” does NOT mean check, inspect, monitor or verify.

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