Until now, I knew that regulate and control are synonyms and hence they can be used interchangeably. But now I am confused about it because of the following sentence:

Production,distribution and sale will stay in private hands, but the government will control and regulate the whole process.

Please explain how we can use control and regulate as given in the above sentence. Is there any difference in their meaning?

  • 1
    You can regulate something, but relegate the control function to some other body. For instance, the legislature "regulates" legal relationships in the country by passing laws but has only a non-direct control over how exactly these laws are applied. – CowperKettle Nov 30 '15 at 19:57
  • 1
    @CopperKettle, this comment provides a good point. Regarding relegation, I'd add that it may depend on the structure of the government/governing body. (+1) – shin Dec 1 '15 at 6:04

Regulate and control are similar in meaning, but they are not exact synonyms. When referring to government actions, the meaning of regulate is usually

to make regulations for or concerning

(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/regulate, definition 1b2)

Control is a little more general, and often is used to mean

to exercise restraining or directing influence over


to have power over

(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/control, definitions 2a and 2b)

So the original sentence means something like:
Production, distribution and sale will stay in private hands, but the government will have power over the whole process and will make regulations concerning it.

|improve this answer|||||
  • 2
    Would like to add that regulate (regulation) is heavily connected to legal matters (But the word regulator (i.e., valves etc.), is common in industrial processes). +1 – shin Dec 1 '15 at 5:58

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.