The headline is:

'Are Centrists in the Thrall of Right-Wing Propaganda?'

I can only understand this if I swap "of" for "by" like:

'Are Centrists in the Thrall BY Right-Wing Propaganda?'

is it the same?

  • 4
    The headline is correct. You can't use 'by'. People are said to be in the thrall of or in thrall to someone or something. We can say someone is 'enthralled by', meaning 'very interested in', someone or something, but that's a different meaning. Sep 24 at 13:56
  • 1
    This question could easily be answered by looking in a good dictionary. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/thrall
    – JavaLatte
    Sep 24 at 14:23
  • Let me ask you: In Portuguese can you switch por and de?
    – Lambie
    Sep 24 at 16:18
  • What @JavaLatte said. The only real issue here is that some learners (and even some native speakers) might confuse the spoken versions of #1 He's in thrall to her and #2 He's enthralled by her. Note - you might well say that those two utterances should mean the same thing, but actually we normally reserve #1 for the literal sense (she holds power over him; he must obey her every command), and #2 for the metaphoric sense (he's captivated / enchanted / fascinated by her). Sep 24 at 16:19

The headline is correct. Substituting "by" is incorrect.

"in thrall" is a standard phrase. It can take the preposition "to", or it can be possessive. The examples given are:

He was completely in thrall to her.

He was completely in her thrall.

Possessives can usually be rewritten in an "of" form, so you could also write:

He was completely in the thrall of her.

You use the definite article because you are referring to a specific "thrall", the one that is hers, rather than thrall in general.

"By" should not be used with thrall. While the construct is seen, I suspect it is an eggcorn for the similar-sounding:

He is completely enthralled by her.

See also the helpful answer at https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/337539/in-thrall-to-vs-in-the-thrall-of

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