I see a sentence on a user manual like "It can be controlled from the software". They have obviously meant that "you can control it by using the software". Is that correct grammar? I think "It can be controlled using the software" or "It can be controlled on the software" could be both correct but the first one somehow seems incorrect to me.

1 Answer 1


You are right that controlled using or controlled on is more usual and reads more naturally in this context. However, controlled from is also correct. The differences between these three are in the shades of emphasis each applies. In this case, the author may have chosen from to emphasize the remoteness by which 'it' can be controlled:

You do not need to be on-site to control it; it can be controlled from your laptop--from your software.

Using this language hilights the relationship between software and 'it.'

Controlled on would emphasize the software itself and its features:

You don't need another program; it can be controlled on the software.

Controlled using is very neutral, without connotation or emphasis and as such is probably the best choice for a manual. Also keep in mind that many manuals are not the best examples of written English. They are translated (sometimes poorly) from other languages, written by technical experts who are not the best writers, or by engineers who may not be fluent in English at all.

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