Control vs. check

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WRONG: Thomas controlled my bike to see if the brakes were working.
RIGHT: Thomas checked my bike to see if the brakes were working.

It’s important to make sure the brakes are working on your bike before riding it, but make sure you ‘check’ them, not ‘control’ them! Confusingly, kontrolovat in English is ‘to check’ – and we check something to see if it’s there, or to make sure something is ok.

Control means to manage or be ‘in charge of’ something. If you are in control, you have the power; you are the boss of the situation (and it is often linked to the phrase ‘to lose control’). So, for example, you might control the company’s social budget, meaning you make the decisions about it, or you might control the TV, meaning you press the buttons to change the channel.

To go back to our bike example then, the following examples use ‘control’ and ‘check’ correctly:

Before I rode my bike, I checked to see that the brakes were working. I was happily in control of the bike, until I hit a big stone, then I lost control and crashed into a tree!