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What’s the difference between check and control?

Some people find check and control confusing, but the two words have very different meanings in English.

Control is related to your power or influence over a situation, person or thing.

Check can mean to inspect something or to enquire.

Keep reading to learn more about the differences between check and control, then put your knowledge to the test in the free exercises.


Mr Jones hates airports because everything always takes so long.

At check-in their tickets were checked. Then they lined up for a long time at security and their hand luggage was checked for liquids. Then, to top it off, the plane was delayed whilst engineers checked the engine.

Mr Jones tried hard to contol his temper. He had to remind himself that some things in life can’t be controlled.


  • inspect something to make sure that it is correct, safe, or acceptable
At check-in their tickets were checked.
Engineers checked the engine.
  • find out or enquire about something
Before packing, the Jones family checked the weather forecast for Ireland.


  • be able to make people/things do what you want
Some things in life can’t be controlled.
Mr Jones tried to control his temper.