This is simply semantics, but seems to be coming up a lot lately in topics.
You can NOT control an element or external energies, and folks seem to be trying to get around this by saying "manipulate" instead.
What we are actually controlling or manipulating is our own energies for our magickal purposes. The energies from other sources, such as elements, rides along the line we direct our personal energy on.
Think of your energy as a stream. External energies ride this like a fallen leaf to it's destination. You don't direct that leaf yourself.
If this is disagreeable to you, then that's fine.