Capability vs Ability

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What’s the difference between them?

Capability

Meaning:

The capability or capacity to do something; the ability to perform or achieve certain actions or outcomes.

Examples:

1. Her capability to adapt to new situations quickly made her an ideal candidate for the job.

2. The company has the capability to produce up to 500 items per hour.

3. He was unaware of his own capability to do the task until he was actually given the chance to try.

Ability

Meaning:

a natural talent in doing something.

Examples:

1. She demonstrated her ability to solve complex problems.

2. His ability to express himself was impressive.

3. Her natural ability to learn quickly impressed everyone.

Learn similar and opposite words to spot the difference

Synonyms

Antonyms

Capability

1. Ability

2. Competence

3. Proficiency

4. Skill

5. Capableness

1. Impotence

2. Inability

3. Ineptitude

4. Powerlessness

5. Unskillfulness

Ability

1. Capacity

2. Competence

3. Proficiency

4. Expertise

5. Aptitude

1. Weakness

2. Impotence

3. Inability

4. Powerlessness

5. Lack of Capacity

Tricks for mastery

Useful tips to understand the difference between confusing words "Capability", "Ability".

1. 'Capability' refers to the potential or capacity to do something. It suggests that a person, system, or entity possesses the necessary resources, skills, or attributes required to perform a task or function effectively.

2. It often implies a broader range of potential actions or functions that can be carried out.

3. 'Ability' refers to the actual skill or competence to perform a specific task or action successfully. It indicates that someone possesses the knowledge, skills, or proficiency required to do something.

4. It is more focused on the practical aspect of performing a task or function.

Check the full list of commonly confused words in English

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Frequently asked questions

In what situations should the word ‘capability’ be used?

Capability typically refers to the potential of someone or something to do something. It is usually used in the context of someone or something having the capability to do something, such as to achieve a goal, or to complete a task. It is also used to refer to the potential of something, such as a tool or system, to do something.

When is the appropriate context for using the word ‘ability’?

Ability is typically used to refer to the capacity of someone or something to do something. It is usually used when talking about the skills or qualities that someone has, such as the ‘ability to solve complex problems’, or ‘ability to think quickly’. It can also be used when referring to the capacity of something, such as a tool or system, to do something.

Do the two words share the same pronunciation?

No, capability is pronounced /ˌkeɪ.pəˈbɪl.ə.t̬i/, while ability is pronounced /əˈbɪl.ə.t̬i/.

What are some common mistakes people make when using these words?

One of the most common mistakes people make when using these words is using them interchangeably. While they both relate to potential or capacity, they have slightly different meanings. Ability refers to the capacity of someone or something to do something, while capability refers to the potential of someone or something to do something.

Fill in the gaps to check yourself

1. Every human has the innate ________ to learn and grow.

2. The software has the ________ to process large amounts of data within seconds.

3. Her ________ to play the violin left everyone in awe.

4. Modern cars have enhanced safety ________ compared to older models.

5. He doubted his own ________ to complete the marathon.

6. With the new hardware upgrade, the computers processing ________ has significantly improved.

1. Every human has the innate ability to learn and grow.

Explanation: The sentence refers to a natural or innate talent or capacity that all humans possess, so ability is appropriate.

2. The software has the capability to process large amounts of data within seconds.

Explanation: The context focuses on the softwares functional capacity or what it can achieve. Capability is a better fit here, highlighting its designed functions.

3. Her ability to play the violin left everyone in awe.

Explanation: This sentence refers to a natural talent or skill in playing the violin, making ability the correct choice.

4. Modern cars have enhanced safety capability compared to older models.

Explanation: The sentence discusses the functional capacity or features of modern cars. Capability refers to the designed or intended functionalities, making it suitable here.

5. He doubted his own ability to complete the marathon.

Explanation: This is about an individuals self-doubt in his natural capacity or talent to finish the marathon. Ability fits best in this context.

6. With the new hardware upgrade, the computers processing capability has significantly improved.

Explanation: The context here refers to the functional capacity or what the computer can achieve with the new hardware. Therefore, capability is the right choice.

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List of Commonly Confused Words

Finding your way around the English language can be hard, especially since there are so many confusing words and rules. So, a list of the most confusing words in English is an extremely useful tool for improving language accuracy and sharing the ideas clearly.