What’s the difference in meaning and/or usage between the phrases “A is in B’s control” and “A is under B’s control”? Are they somewhat interchangeable? My opinion is that the preposition ‘under’ has the connotation of command, meaning B gives orders to A. On the other hand, ‘in’ suggests by connotation that A is an object, and B has the power to do whatever he wants to or with A. Can someone confirm my understanding? Below are example sentences I found:

  • Two-thirds of the market is in the control of three companies

  • The team is under the control of a new coach

  • The weather is not in/under our control


IMHO, you are right.

When something is under control, it means that we are in the situation of monitoring it. However, when a thing is in control, we can command and direct it.

From Collins Dictionary:

If you are in control of something, you have the power to make all the important decisions about the way it is run.

If something harmful is under control, it is being dealt with successfully and is unlikely to cause any more harm.

The Collins English Dictionary stresses on the harmfulness of what is under control.

Also from dictionary.com:

in control: able to direct a situation, person, or activity.

under control: (of a danger or emergency) such that people are able to deal with it successfully.

  • Thank you for your answer. Does this mean the subject always comes before ‘in control’ as in “I am in control of ...” and after the object in ‘under control’ like “....is under my control”? Is that correct? – JUNCINATOR Feb 12 '18 at 9:18

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