3

For example, what to choose here? "To compete for the control of/over a corporation" or "To compete for the power over a corporation"

UPDATE If two workers compete for absolute control/power, what idiom should I use?

  • To me, "control" sounds more like "business-like" wording. I am also not entirely sure, but I think if you use "power", it should be "compete for power" (without "the"). Also, "power" implies some processes behind the scenes, while "control" is an official position of power. – htmlcoderexe May 20 '16 at 18:12
5

"To compete for the control of a corporation"

This reads well when it's a person within the company competing in a legal context. Where the competition is about having legal standing to lead the company.

"To compete for the control over a corporation"

This reads well when it's corporations competing to control another corporation. This would put one corporation over another.

"To compete for power over a corporation"

This reads well when it's political. The power may not be in a legally recognized form. It may be blackmail. It may just be popularity and office politics.

The differences here are very slight. You could swap these around and many wouldn't care. These are simply the impressions they give.

Between "over" and "of" the literal meanings are identical. Over tends to be used more for people rather than things. When someone controls us we think of them as over us. This line is blurred when we anthropomorphize.

Over can have a slightly more pejorative implication than of. Over tends to be used when the control is sinister in some way. Although over doesn't have to be pejorative.

Leadership Lessons: 5 Tips to Develop Better Control Over Your Emotions

in control of

in control of someone or something

  1. in charge of someone or something. Who is in control of this place? I am not in control of her. She works for another department.

  2. to have someone or something mastered or subdued; to have achieved management of someone or something. You should be in control of your dog at all times. The attendant was instructed to be in control of his patient at all times.

See also: control, of

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

thefreedictionary.com:in control of

control over

*control over someone or something

the power to direct or manage someone or something. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~.) I have no control over Mary. I can't stop her from running away. Who gave you control over what goes on in this house?

See also: control

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

thefreedictionary.com: control over

  • CandiedOrange, thank you for your answer! If two workers compete for absolute control/power, what idiom should I use? – Dana May 20 '16 at 20:26
  • 1
    @Dana both my 1st and 3rd example covers that case. The distinction here is extremely subtle. It would help if you provided more context. The fact of control/power isn't going to help here. What/who has control over what/who and how we are supposed to feel about it really needs to be taken into consideration if you want the distinction to mean anything. – candied_orange May 20 '16 at 22:28

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